India produces 32.11 million tonnes of sugar in Oct-Apr: ISMA

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India’s sugar production reached 32.11 million tonnes in the first seven months of the ongoing marketing year that started October 2018, and the total production could touch a new record of 33 million tonnes, the industry body Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in its latest report.

The country’s sugar output during the 2017-18 marketing year (October-September) was a record 32.5 million tonnes.

The annual domestic requirement of India, which is the world’s second largest producer, is only 26 million tonnes.

Only 100 mills were in operation as on April 30, 2019. With lesser number of sugar mills working as of now, sugar production in the balance part of the current season will be much less than what was produced from 1st May 2018 to 30th September 2018 last year, ISMA said.

The country’s top three sugar producing states — Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka — have produced 11.26 million tonnes, 10.7 million tonnes and 4.32 million tonnes, respectively, during the October-April period of the 2018-19 marketing year.

“Even though the quantum of sugarcane crushing in the current year is less than that in the last year, the sugar production in 2018-19 will be marginally more than last year,” it said in a statement.

Sugar recovery in northern India has been substantially better than last year. In the other parts of the country, including Maharashtra and Karnataka also, the sugar recovery is better than last year, though not as high as it achieved in north India.

“Therefore, the sugar production in the current year for the whole country is expected to be around 33 million tonnes, about 5,00,000 tonnes more than last year,” the ISMA predicted.

The pace of sugar production in the last 15-20 days has slowed down, with large number of sugar mills shutting their crushing operations faster than what was seen in the last season.

ISMA said the sugar stocks at the end of the 2018-19 marketing year would be at a higher level at around 14.7 million tonnes taking into account the opening balance of 10.7 million tonnes as on October 1, 2018, and estimated record output of 33 million tonnes and domestic demand of 26 million tonnes as well as export of 3 million tonnes. The industry body also indicated that sugar output in the 2019-20 marketing year is likely to decline on lower sugarcane output due to lack of rains in key growing state Maharashtra and diversion to ethanol production.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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