According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), 491 sugar mills have been in operation till 31 January of the current marketing season, against 447 in the year-ago period.
Third-largest sugar producer Karnataka also reported an increased yield of 34.38 lakh tonne till January.
The country’s 491 sugar mills have together produced 176.83 lakh tonne of the commodity in the first four months of the current sugar season, which started on October 1, against 141 lakh tonne produced in the corresponding period last season. The production is up by around 25%, backed by an increased yield in Maharashtra.
According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), 491 sugar mills have been in operation till 31 January of the current marketing season, against 447 in the year-ago period. Among the states, production in Maharashtra, which had a bad sugar season last year, has increased substantially to 63.80 lakh tonne from 34.64 lakh tonne in the said period, while production in Uttar Pradesh — the country’s leading producer last year — remained slightly lower at 54.43 lakh tonne till January this season, against 54.96 lakh tonne a year ago.
Third-largest sugar producer Karnataka also reported an increased yield of 34.38 lakh tonne till January from 27.94 lakh tonne a year ago, while that of Gujarat stood at 5.55 lakh tonne against 4.87 lakh tonne last year.
“In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 37 sugar mills are in operation and have produced 3.56 lakh tonne as on January 31, as compared to 4.39 lakh tonne produced by 39 sugar mills in the corresponding period last season. The remaining states of Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Odisha have collectively produced 15.11 lakh tonne of sugar,” the ISMA statement said, adding that the sales during the October-December period of the ongoing marketing season are reported to be more or less similar to that of the last year at around 6.75 million tonne.
Welcoming the Budget proposals, ISMA said the increase in import duty on denatured ethyl alcohol from 2.5% to 5% would make inward shipments costlier by around Rs 1 per litre at the current global rates, which, in turn, would increase the demand for domestic molasses and alcohol produced by the Indian sugar industry and grain-based distilleries, giving better returns. This will ensure better payments to the Indian sugarcane and grain farmers, it said.
“The Budget also talks of encouraging renewable energy, clean air as well as emphasises a lot on encouraging Indian agriculture. This will give further boost to the ethanol production from sugarcane and surplus grains and maize, because ethanol-blended petrol reduces vehicular pollution and directly improves air quality. It would directly benefit the Indian farmers,” it said.
“Overall, the Indian sugar industry welcomes the various steps taken by the government to financially help the industry and the sugarcane farmers,” ISMA said.
The industry body also requested the government to extend all those benefits and incentives proposed to be given to other sectors — which contribute toward improving air quality and increasing renewable energy production in the country — to the sugar industry and distilleries that produce and supply ethanol for blending with petrol.