INDIA: ISMA says sugar production could reach 32 million tonnes

Published: 05/03/2018, 10:41:49 AM

The country's sugar production had surpassed 31 million metric tonnes till April 30, nearly 1.5 million tonnes more than what the sugar industry officially had forecast in March, an Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) release said on Thursday, according to India's Hindu Business Line.

Total production may go up further to anywhere between 31.5 to 32 million tonnes as 130 sugar mills, mainly in Uttar Pradesh, are continuing with their crushing operations, the release said.

Unprecedented increase in production has severely hit sugar prices in the domestic market, resulting in the government stepping in with a slew of measures such as restricting imports and relaxing the export norms.

On Wednesday, the Government had approved a scheme to give a sugarcane production subsidy of INR55 per tonne to farmers as their arrears have crossed INR200 billion (US$3 million). The measure, which would cost the Government around INR15.40 billion, is expected to help improve the liquidity condition of sugarcane farmers, it said.

As per the industry's estimate, sugar mills in UP have so far produced 11.2 million tonnes and 80 out of a total 119 mills in the State are still continuing their crushing operations. "Some of these mills are closing fast, whereas few are expected to continue crushing till the second week of May 2018," ISMA said.

Maharashtra, the second highest sugar-producing State, has so far produced 10.7 million tonnes. Most mills in the State, barring 15 of them, have ceased their crushing operations.

Mills in Karnataka, on the other hand, has already completed crushing operations and produced 3.63 million tonnes during the current sugar season, which extends from October last year to September this year.

Sugar mills in Bihar, Punjab and Haryana too attained peak levels in production and together contributed 2.235 million tonnes to the overall sugar production in the country. While all mills in Bihar have stopped crushing, few mills in Punjab and Haryana are still operating, the release said.

Among other states, Tamil Nadu produced 1.09 million tonnes of sugar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together contributed 0.71 million tonnes and Gujarat's share was 0.53 million tonnes, according to ISMA release.