Not so sweet: Sugar output falls 64% till Nov 15 in ongoing season

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Published: November 21, 2019 12:22:01 AM

The total production during sugar season 2019-20 would be around 26.85 million tonne, without considering the impact of sugar reduction due to diversion of B heavy molasses/sugarcane juice to ethanol, the apex body had said a few days ago.

The reason being sugar mills in Maharashtra have not yet started crushing operation this seasonThe reason being sugar mills in Maharashtra have not yet started crushing operation this season

Sugar production as of November 15 in the current season (October-September) of 2019-20 has declined by 64% to 4.85 lakh tonne as compared to 13.38 lakh tonne in the same period of last season (2018-19). As of November 15, 2019, 100 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane as compared to 310 sugar mills last year in the corresponding period of last season, Indian Sugar Mills’ Association (Isma) said on Wednesday.

A few days ago, the association had said that sugar production for the entire 2019-20 season is expected to hit a three-year low and decline by 19% to 26.85 million tonne as compared to 33.16 million tonne in the previous season, blaming erratic rainfall and floods in Maharashtra and Karnataka, the two main cane growing states, for the decline in total cane acreage.

The reason for lower sugar production in the current season as of November 15 as compared to last season is that sugar mills in Maharashtra have not yet started their crushing operation this season, as compared to 149 mills which were already operating last year during this period, and had produced 6.31 lakh tonne till November 15, 2018, Isma said.

Similarly in Karnataka, 18 sugar mills were in operation as of November 15, 2019 and have produced 1.43 lakh tonne as compared to 53 mills which were operating and had produced 3.60 lakh tonne in the the corresponding date of last season.

Maharashtra and Karnataka have faced drought last year, because of which the area planted under sugarcane therein has dropped by about 30% as compared to last season. With lower rainfall and water availability, the yields and recoveries would also be lower. Plus the recent floods and extra rainfall have affected the crop further. The Maharashtra government has now decided to start the crushing of cane by the mills therein from November 22, 2019, Isma said.

In Uttar Pradesh, 69 sugar mills have started their crushing operations for this season and they have produced 2.93 lakh tonne as of November 15, 2019. Last year in the same period, similar number of mills were in operation but they had produced 1.76 lakh tonne till November 15, 2018.

There were 2 mills each in Uttarakhand, Bihar, 1 in Haryana, 3 in Gujarat and 5 in Tamil Nadu that have commenced crushing operations and they have together produced 49,000 tonne of sugar till November 15, 2019.

As per trade and port information, about 2 lakh tonne of sugar has already been shipped out for exports. From market sources and information from sugar mills, it is learnt that contracts for another 12 lakh tonne have been signed by the parties for exports, said an Isma press release.

The total production during sugar season 2019-20 would be around 26.85 million tonne, without considering the impact of sugar reduction due to diversion of B heavy molasses/sugarcane juice to ethanol, the apex body had said a few days ago.

The crop in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which contributes around 35-40% of the country’s total sugar output, has been adversely impacted due to various reasons. The total cane acreage may decline by 12% to 48.31 lakh hectare as compared to 55.02 lakh hectare in the last sugar season (2018-19).

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