India witnessed a slump in its sugar production by 54% during October-November due to a sharp decline in output in Maharashtra, where cane crushing started late, according to trade data. The production during the said period stood at 18.85 lakh tonne.
Sugar season or marketing year runs from October to September. In a statement, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said, “Sugar production till November 30, 2019 in the current 2019-20 sugar season is 18.85 lakh tonne, which was 40.69 lakh tonne last year on November 30, 2018.
Compared to 418 factories crushing sugarcane last year, it said, only 279 sugar mills were operating as on November 30 this year. Last month, the ISMA said the sugar output is estimated to fall 21.5% to 26 million tonne in the 2019-20 marketing year. It reported an opening stock of 14.58 million tonne of sugar as on October 1.
According to the data released on Tuesday (December 3), sugar production in Uttar Pradesh increased to 10.81 lakh tonne during the October-November period of 2019-20 marketing year from 9.14 lakh tonne in the year-ago period.
Production in Maharashtra plunged to 67,000 tonne during the period as compared with 18.89 lakh tonne in the year-ago two months. Sugar mills in the state started operation late on November 22, 2019. In Karnataka, output dropped to 5.21 lakh tonne from 8.40 lakh tonne.
“As per trade and market sources, about 15 lakh tonne of sugar has been contracted for exports, including contracts made with port-based refiners by sugar mills. Major destinations for sugar exports are Iran, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, African countries, etc,” ISMA said.
Ex-mill sugar prices in northern states continue to remain between ₹3,250-3,300 per quintal for the last couple of months, while in western and southern states, it is hovering around ₹3,100-3,250 per quintal.
As per the information provided by state governments, sugar mills have cane price arrears of about ₹5,000 crore pertaining to 2018-19 marketing year as on November 30, 2019.
(With inputs from agencies)