India state fuel retailers raise maize ethanol purchase price -local media

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian state fuel retailers have raised the purchase price of ethanol made from maize by 5.79 rupees a litre to 71.86 rupees ($0.8635) per litre to encourage its production for blending with gasoline, local media reported.

India is promoting the use of maize as an alternative to sugar to boost ethanol production and ensure sufficient supply of the sweetener in the market.

In December, India directed sugar mills not to use cane juice to produce ethanol as the country’s sugar production is expected to decline in the 2023/24 marketing year that began in October.

Last week, state fuel retailers raised the procurement price for ethanol made from C-heavy molasses, a cane by-product that has hardly any sugar content in it, by 8.87 Indian rupees per litre.

Ethanol makes up about 10.2% of petrol sold in India and the government aims to raise blending to 20% by 2025.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association, a producers’ body, said last month that India’s sugar production is likely to fall to 32.5 million metric tons in the 2023/24 marketing year, down from its previous estimate of 33.7 million tons.

In the preceding marketing year, India is estimated to have produced 36.6 million tonnes of sugar.

($1 = 83.2220 Indian rupees)

($1 = 83.2180 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Susan Fenton)