Sugar production as of December 2017 in the current sugar season has gone up 29.8% to 69.40 lakh tonne compared to 53.46 lakh tonne in the same period last season, according to Indian Sugar Mills’ Association (ISMA) while the number of mills has increased to 469 from 449. According to estimates, a normal sugar production of 251 lakh tonne is expected in 2017-18 sugar season compared to a low production of 203 lakh tonne reported in the last season, and hence the higher production trend up to December 15, 2017, which was as per ISMA’s estimates and expectations. Sugar production, as on November 30 of this season, saw 41.4% growth over the same period last season. However, the growth for December has dropped to 29.8% compared to last year, ISMA said. In Maharashtra, 176 sugar mills were in operation and they produced 25.50 lakh tonne of sugar till December 15, as against 144 sugar mills and production of 17.25 lakh tonne in the last season and this was on expected lines.
In Uttar Pradesh, the largest sugar producing state, 116 mills have produced 23.37 lakh tonne as compared to 115 sugar mills with 17.66 lakh tonne last year in the corresponding period. In Karnataka, the third largest producer, production was at 11.50 lakh tonne, about 50,000 tonne higher than as on December 15, 2016. During the current 2017-sugar season, 60 sugar mills were in operation as compared to 59 operated on the corresponding date of 2016. According to ISMA, there were unfounded rumours suggesting a specific figure of sugar production for 2018-19 season, which had a negative impact on the market but this was proved to be misleading. With buying interest improving and also the stock holding limit on traders being removed, the market is expected to increase the buying, which can have a positive impact on the sales and market sentiments, which in turn is already having a stabilising effect, ISMA said.