The Coronavirus continues to affect lives and livelihoods. Many of our colleagues were affected by the pandemic, either directly or indirectly. The first wave was followed by a much more dangerous and more widespread second wave which is sweeping through the country. This is affecting the economy much deeper than the first wave. It is also affecting young people. The Government of India can only combat this with rapid vaccinations and as we have seen in the recent past, some form of lockdowns. We feel that lockdowns will have an impact on livelihoods, but it will be necessary to save lives. We also saw that the economic activity recovered quickly once the first wave receded. Our company has continued its manufacturing operations since many of our products are essential.
As a company, we started making sanitizers under the brand name Paavan, and our scientists and engineers quickly developed a process to make an intermediate that is used in the manufacture of Remdesivir
The Indian economy continues to produce more sugarcane and consequently, more sugar than it can consume. In the current sugar season, Indian is likely to produce over 30.5 million tons of sugar. The ethanol blending programme continues to grow and this year more than 3 billion litres of ethanol contracts were signed with oil companies.
We are continuing on our journey of creating a world class cascading biorefinery. Our strategy is to add value to our feedstock, and its related biomass. To convert biomass into value added products, chemically, physically or biologically.
Your company was one of the first companies in India to start the manufacture of ethanol from sugarcane juice /syrup. In the season 2019-20, we had increased our capacity of ethanol from 200,000 lpd to 320,000 lpd. In November 2020, we further expanded our distillery to 400 klpd. With this expansion, we have increased our ethanol production from about 20 million litres in 2017 to an estimated 80 million litres in the FY 2022.
Chemicals are the largest portion of our product mix at 35% of our business and are a growth opportunity. We have identified new specialty chemicals to make and/or expand.
We continue to make more value added chemicals from renewable resources. The world is looking at renewable and sustainable ways of making products. Climate change needs to be combated. Godavari Biorefineries has been a pioneer in the use of Sustainable and Renewable Resources to produce chemicals. Our close cooperation with many of the large companies to develop and produce products for them is helping us sustain and grow our pipeline for new products. Customers have expressed renewed and strong interest in sourcing products that are renewable, sustainable, and adhering to the 'green chemistry' principles. We are continuing our dialogue with them. Customers globally are demanding more sustainable and renewable products with a lower carbon footprint. In turn, companies are taking a fresh look at their supply chains to adapt to this new reality and mitigate climate change.
We continue to work closely with the farmer. We are inextricably linked together. Our aim is to see that the farmer and the farm are healthy. To do this, we continue to work on introducing drip irrigation, intercropping, soil testing, subsequent supply of quality inputs, supply of tissue culture plantlets, and agronomic practices for achieving high yield. We collaborate with KIAAR, K J Somaiya Institute of Applied Agriculture Research, to demonstrate new techniques that would improve productivity, optimize resource use, and maintain soil fertility. Our experiments on using older and traditional techniques and modern science with KIAAR have shown good results.
I am delighted to say that your company has been awarded the winner in the category of Best Combined Heat and Power Plant Boiler by Honourable Labour Minister Mr. Hebbar, Government of Karnataka, at State Level Safety Award - 2021 on the 4th March 2021 at Bengaluru.
In closing, these are difficult times. We have created optionality by participating in the ethanol blending programme announced by the Government of India. This optionality allows us to better manage risk. With the recent announcements by the Government of India, we will further expand our production and will be working on adding additional feedstocks to further increase our production of ethanol. We are also trying to add value by working on value added chemistry. Finally, we continue to be working on creating a circular and cascading biorefinery. Our proposed SOP project is a step in that direction. We hope that we set an example of creating a sustainable and innovative enterprise that adds value to all stakeholders.
Before I end, I want to mention about the work being undertaken by our sister organisations in times of this pandemic. During the first wave, The K J Somaiya Trust had provided land temporarily to the city of Mumbai so that the city could continue to have the supply chain of fruit and vegetables. It has now provided land to the city to make arrangements for creating a jumbo facility should a third wave hit us. In addition, during the first wave, Somaiya Vidyavihar and the K J Somaiya College of Physiotherapy had provided space to the Government for quarantine and also to house COVID positive patients. Finally, the most work is being done by the K J Somaiya Hospital where more than 400 beds were made available to fight the pandemic. Over 4000 patients were treated for the disease. The K J Somaiya Hospital was and will be a vaccination centre in the continuing fight against the disease. Hoping and praying that the world returns to normalcy soon and that the pandemic is behind us.