Sweet Sorghum Stalk Supply Chain Management: Decentralized Crushing Cum-Syrup Making Unit Information Bulletin no. 90 uri icon


  • In the climate of environmental concerns associated with fossil fuel use and the increased demand for energy in different counties, biofuel research and development has come to center stage. Sweet sorghum is a SMART crop with triple product benefits - food, feed and fuel. It is a good candidate for commercial ethanol production with potential opportunities for benefiting the poor dryland farmers through the emerging biofuel markets. Commercial ethanol production from sweet sorghum requires feedstock supplies for the long period of a year. ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) with Rusni distillery Pvt. Ltd. and other partners are working on supply chain management and addressing other issues in the sweet sorghum ethanol value chain. Principally, the sweet sorghum supply chain involves centralized and decentralized models. Under the centralized model, farmers supply the sweet sorghum stalks directly to the distillery, whereas in the decentralized model, farmers supply stalks to the Decentralized Crushing-Syrup Making Unit (DCU) located within the village where the crop is grown. The stalks are crushed at the DCU and the sweet juice is boiled to produce concentrated syrup that can be stored for more than 2 years at room temperature, and which is used for ethanol production, particularly in the off-season. This serves to augment the feedstock supply to the distillery. Use of the DCU for crushing and syrup production at the village level is a new idea and there is as yet no publication available on the requirements for establishment of a DCU and its management. In this bulletin, an attempt is made to briefly describe the experiences of ICRISAT and partners in the establishment and maintenance of a DCU, covering all the aspects from selection of site for its establishment, logistical requirements, plant and machinery, operation and management, economics of crushing sweet sorghum and its role in sweet sorghum supply chain management

publication date

  • 2012