India’s sugar output falls by 19% to 26 million tonnes in current season – industry group

Sugar production between October 2019 and May 15 this year in the current sugar season has declined by 19% to 26.46 million tonnes against 32.61 million tonnes in the same period last season — a drop of 6.15 million tonnes. Compared with 38 sugar mills which were crushing sugarcane as on May 15, last year, 63 sugar mills were crushing on May 15 this year.

Amid Covid-affected times, contracts for export of 4.2 million tonnes have been made till beginning of May 2020. As per reports available from mills and ports, about 3.6 million tonnes have been dispatched from the mills for exports. Contracts for export are being signed for various destinations, with major quantities for Indonesia and Iran, Indian Sugar Mills’ Association (ISMA) said in a release on Monday.

The government has allowed export of 6 million tonnes of sugar under maximum admissible export quota (MAEQ) during the 2019-20 marketing year (October-September) to liquidate surplus sugar in the global markets.

According to ISMA, the Union government has urged mills for diversion of excess sugarcane and sugar for production of fuel ethanol as a long-term solution to address the problem of excess sugar stock. It is already well-accepted by ISMA, as augmentation in ethanol capacity for the upcoming years is at different stages of progress/ implementation.

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According to data, Uttar Pradesh sugar mills have produced 12.22 million tonnes as on May 15,  5.48 lakh tonnes higher than the production of 11.68 million tonnes last year on the same date last year. In Maharashtra, sugar production till May 15 was 6.08 million tonnes against 10.71 million tonnes produced in the 2018-19 sugar season — almost 4.63 million tonnes less.

All the operating sugar mills in Karnataka closed their crushing operations by April 30 and produced 3.38 million tonnes. In Tamil Nadu, sugar production till May 15 was 5.65 lakh tonnes against 7.16 lakh tonnes produced on the corresponding date last year. The remaining states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha have collectively produced 3.27 million tonnes till May 15, 2020.

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