INDIA: ISMA says 1.5 million tonnes exports needed

Published: 03/05/2018, 4:54:17 PM

India's sugar output increased 42 percent to 23.05 million tonnes in five months to February of the 2017/18 marking year, industry body ISMA said, emphasising upon the need to export 1.5 million tonnes in the next few months, according to the Press Trust of India.

Sugar production was 16.26 million tonnes in the October-February period of last marketing year. The total output for the 2016/17 marketing year stood 20.3 million tonnes -- the lowest in last 7-8 years. The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.

"Considering that there is reportedly a larger sugar production in the current year as also expected in the next 2018/19 season, there is a need to export at least 1.5 million tonnes in the current season itself over the next 6-7 months," the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.

This will give extra cash flows to the sugar mills, which in turn, will improve cane price payments to the sugarcane farmers and will reduce the cane price arrears, which is accumulating very fast to uncomfortable levels, it observed.

As per the ISMA, sugar production till February of this marketing year is higher by 6.78 million tonnes in the year-ago period due to higher availability of cane.

"This year, the sugarcane availability is better due to better rainfall and also that sugar mills in almost all the states across the country, started crushing operations much earlier and at full capacity than last year," it added.

Mills in the top three sugar producing states Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka have manufactured 7.39 million tonnes, 8.42 million tonnes and 3.34 million tonnes -- during October-February period of this marketing year.

The ISMA said 479 mills were operating till February-end, while 43 mills have shut crushing operations in the current year. There are reports that some more sugar mills would be shutting operations in the next couple of weeks, it added.

The industry body further said that sugar sales in the current year would be slightly higher at 25 million tonnes this year. The market sentiment and buying interest improved last month.

The ex-mill price of sugar is slightly higher than the year-ago period after the government took measures like doubling of import duty, it added.