NEW DELHI: India’s sugar production is estimated to rise by 45 per cent to record 29.5 million tonnes in the current marketing year ending September on the back of higher cane output in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, according to industry body ISMA.
The association had earlier pegged sugar production at 26.1 million tonnes for the current 2017-18 marketing year but it has now sharply revised the estimates upwards citing substantially higher sugarcane yields per hectare reported from Maharashtra and North Karnataka.
Sugar output of India, the world’s second largest producer after Brazil, stood at 20.3 million tonnes in the 2016-17 marketing year (October-September).
“Sugar production up to February 28, 2018 was 23.05 million tonnes. Considering that 479 sugar mills are still crushing and also taking into the account higher yields reported from two states (Maharashtra and Karnataka), ISMA has revised its estimates for the current season to 29.5 million tonnes of sugar,” the association said in a statement.
India produced a record 28.36 MT sugar in 2006-07 marketing year.
As per the estimates, sugar production in Uttar Pradesh is expected to increase to 10.51 million tonnes in 2017-18 from 8.77 million tonnes in the previous year.
Maharashtra is likely to produce 10.13 million tonnes as against 4.2 million tonnes in the 2016-17. Karnataka’s sugar production may rise to 3.54 million tonnes from 2.16 million tonnes in the previous year.
“The yields recorded in Maharashtra and Karnataka are reportedly one of the highest ever noticed in the past from either of these states,” ISMA said. The yields from both of these states were about 60 tonnes/hectare last year and the average yields in the current season from these two states are around 100 tonnes/hectare and 91 tonnes/hectare, respectively.
“Sugar production of 29.5 million tons in the current season will be 4.5 million tonnes higher than the 25 million tonnes of estimated domestic consumption. A part of this needs to be exported in the next 6 to 7 months within this sugar season itself, to reduce the burden of surplus sugar in the country,” ISMA said.
This, in turn, will give extra cash flows to the sugar mills to ensure better payment to the farmers and reduction in the cane price arrears, which is accumulating very fast to uncomfortable levels.
The opening stock of sugar stood at 3.87 million tonnes, while India has imported 1,84,000 tonnes.
The government has hiked the sugar import duty to 100 per cent to curb shipments and is considering to scrap export duty.