In order to judiciously use excess sugar, mills have been encouraged by the government to divert extra sugarcane to ethanol which is blended with petrol. Subsequently in the last two sugar seasons of 2018-19 and 2019-20, around 3.37 lakh metric tonnes and 9.26 lakh metric tonnes of sugar has been diverted to ethanol.
In the current sugar season of 2020-21, more than 20 lakh metric tonnes of the sweetener is expected to be diverted. In the ensuing sugar season 2021-22, about 35 lakh metric tonnes of sugar is estimated to be diverted, while by 2024-25 about 60 lakh metric tonnes of sugar is targeted to be diverted to ethanol, official sources said.
This will help in addressing the problem of excess sugarcane as well as the delayed payment issues, as farmers will get payments on time, a statement issued by Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs said.
At the same time though, as the adequate ethanol distillation capacities would be added only by 2024-25, therefore export of sugar will continue for another two to three years.
Blending ethanol with petrol not only serves as green fuel, but also helps in saving a lot of foreign exchange.
Also the revenue generated from sale of ethanol by mills helps sugar mills in clearing cane price dues of farmers.