Ban On Sugarcane Juice And Sugar Syrup

Ban On Sugarcane Juice And Sugar Syrup

 GS Paper - 1

Why in the news?

The Indian government recently implemented an immediate ban on the utilization of sugarcane juice or sugar syrup by sugar mills and distilleries for ethanol production. 

  • This directive, executed under the Sugar (Control) Order, 1966, is a temporary measure designed to ensure a sufficient supply of sugar for domestic consumption.
  • The objective is to stabilize sugar prices and meet the current demands within the country.

Note: It is noteworthy that the government may reassess and potentially revise this decision in response to the evolving conditions of the sugar market.

Key Points:

  • The government has approved the use of 'B-molasses' for ethanol production in the fiscal year 2023-24.
  • Maharashtra, contributing 30% to India's ethanol production, is expected to be significantly affected by this decision.
  • Oil marketing companies are now mandated to rely on B- and C-heavy molasses for ethanol blending.
  • This shift in raw materials signals a change in the traditional practices of ethanol production.
  • The move has the potential to impact the dynamics of the ethanol industry, requiring stakeholders to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Status of sugar market Condition

  • Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) anticipates a 9 percent decrease in gross sugar production for the 2023-24 marketing year, estimating a total of 337 lakh tonnes.
  • In the 2022-23 marketing year, sugar exports from India declined to 61 lakh tonnes, contrasting with the previous year's record of 112 lakh tonnes.
  • The government has not yet authorized sugar exports for the ongoing marketing year.

Note: It's important to note that, in addition to sugar, the sugarcane industry yields other byproducts such as cane tops, bagasse, and filter muds.

What is ethanol?

  • Ethanol is a renewable fuel. 
    • produced from various plant materials, 
    • collectively termed "biomass."
  • It is generated through sugar fermentation by yeasts or petrochemical processes like ethylene hydration.
  • Widely used, with over 98% of U.S. gasoline containing some ethanol.
  • E10, a common blend, consists of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.
  • E85 is another available ethanol blend.


  • It finds application in the medical field as an antiseptic and disinfectant.
  • Its usage extends to being a chemical solvent and playing a role in the synthesis of organic compounds.
  • It serves as a biofuel, functioning as an alternative source of fuel.

Initiatives to promote the production of ethanol:

    • The 2018 National Policy on Biofuels aims to increase biofuel availability and boost blending percentages.
  • The Ethanol Blending Program targets a 20% ethanol blend in petrol by 2025-26.
  • PM JI-VAN YOJANA provides financial support for second-generation ethanol projects.

Impact of Government Banning on "Sugarcane Juice and Sugar Syrup" for Ethanol Production on Sugarcane Industry

Potential Impacts on the Sugarcane Industry

Positive Impacts:

  • Increased Sugar Availability: 
      • The ban is expected to make about 2.5 million tonnes of additional sugar available in the domestic market, potentially leading to lower prices for consumers.
  • Reduced Surplus: 
      • The estimated sugar surplus for the season may be reduced to around 4 million tonnes, mitigating the risk of oversupply and further price decline.
  • Focus on Sugar Production: 
    • Sugar mills may now focus on maximizing sugar production instead of diverting sugarcane juice and syrup towards ethanol production.

Negative Impacts:

  • Reduced Ethanol Production: 
      • Ethanol production from sugarcane is likely to decline, 
        • It potentially leads to increased dependence on imported fossil fuels.
  • Lower Revenue for Sugar Mills: 
      • Lower ethanol production means reduced revenue for sugar mills, which could impact their financial health and lead to job losses.
  • Discouragement of Investments: 
      • The ban may discourage investments in new ethanol production facilities, hindering the development of the biofuels sector.
  • Impact on Farmers: Lower demand for sugarcane for ethanol production could lead to lower prices for farmers, potentially impacting their income and livelihood.

Additional steps by the Government 

  • To control food inflation, the central government has implemented a ban on the export of wheat and broken rice.
  • Additionally, a minimum export price (MEP) has been set for basmati rice.



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