The country’s sugar exports are likely to decline by 28.57 at around 8 million tonne in the 2022-23 season on expected lower opening balance stock and higher diversion for ethanol, according to a senior food ministry official.

However, whether to permit export under an open general licence or the prevailing quota system will be decided after assessing the price situation once the sugarcane crushing operation begins, the official said.

Sugar season starts from October to September. The cane crushing season generally starts in October-November and continues till mid-April.

Sugar exports are estimated to be at 11.2 million tonne in the current season.

“Overall sugar output is expected to be good, but exports will be lower next season,” the official told PTI.

The sugar supply is seen to be lower with an opening balance of 6 million tonne in the next season. There is also a possibility of higher diversion of cane for ethanol, he said.

In the past few years, the country had an opening balance of sugar between 8-10 million tonne, but it is expected to be 6 million tonne in the 2022-23 season.

Even the diversion of cane for ethanol making is likely to be higher in 2022-23 than the current season. About 4.5-5 million tonne of sugar is expected to be diverted for ethanol next season against 3.5 million tonne this season, he added.

According to the inputs from key growing states, the official said the country’s total sugar production is estimated to be higher at 40 million tonne in the 2022-23 season when compared to 39.5 million tonne in the current season.

The prospect of sugarcane crop has brightened owing to better rains in major growing states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, and irrigation in Uttar Pradesh, he added. PTI LUX LUX BAL

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