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Sugar production dips 22.67% in crushing season as on Feb 15

IANS

New Delhi

Sugar production in the country has declined 22.67 per cent so far in the current sugar season 2019-20 (October-September) as compared to the last year.

Indian sugar mills have produced 169.85 lakh tonnes of sugar as on February 15, 2020 in the ongoing season as compared to 219.66 lakh tonnes produced on the corresponding date of last year, said Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) in a release on Tuesday.

As per market reports, about 16 lakh tonnes of sugar have been exported from India and about 32 lakh tonnes of contracts have been signed for exports, said the apex sugar Industry body.

According to ISMA, out of 449 sugar mills which had started crushing for 2019-20, 23 sugar mills have stopped crushing operation due to non-availability of sugarcane. Last year, 521 sugar mills had operated, out of which 19 had stopped crushing on the same corresponding date last year. Sugar production has decreased considerably in Maharashtra, the second largest producer of sweetener in the country.

As per the data compiled by ISMA, Maharashtra’s mills have produced 43-38 lakh tonnes of sugar this year while they had produced 82.98 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period last year.

Out of 143 mills which operated this season, eight sugar mills have stopped their crushing. Last year 193 mills had operated i.e. 50 sugar mills remained closed in Maharashtra due to less canes this year.

However, sugar production has increased in Uttar Pradesh, the largest producer of sweetener in the country.

In UP, 119 sugar mills which are in operation have produced 66.34 lakh tonnes of sugar till February 15, compared with 63.93 lakh tonnes produced by 117 mills on the corresponding date of last year.

In case of Karnataka, till February 15, 63 sugar mills had commenced operations and they have produced 30.80 lakh tonnes, as compared to 38.74 lakh tonnes produced by 66 sugar mills last year same period.

Out of 63 sugar mills which went for crushing this season, 13 sugar mills have stopped crushing as on February 15.

In case of Tamil Nadu, 21 sugar mills commenced their crushing operations so far for 2019-20 and they produced 2.60 lakh tonnes of sugar, as compared to 3.85 lakh tonnes produced by 32 sugar mills in 2018-19 on the corresponding date.

Gujarat has produced 5.95 lakh tonnes of sugar till February 15 with 15 sugar mills in operation. Last year, 16 sugar mills were in operation and they had produced 7.78 lakh tonnes of sugar till February 15.

In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 18 sugar mills have produced 3.06 lakh tonnes as on February 15, as compared to 4.50 lakh tonnes produced by 25 mills on the corresponding date last season. Two out of 18 sugar mills which operated this season have ended their crushing on February 15.

In Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, sugar production till February 15 has been in the order of 5.08 lakh tonnes, 2.41 lakh tonnes, 3.72 lakh tonnes, 3.51 lakh tonnes and 2.76 lakh tonnes, respectively.

Ex-mill sugar prices in the Southern and Western parts of the country are ruling in the range of Rs 3,100-3,200 per quintal and in Northern parts the same are in the range of Rs 3,200-3,300 per quintal, said ISMA.

As per the government’s decision, 20 per cent of export quotas of mills which have not contracted for 25 per cent of their MAEQ by end of January 2020, will be withdrawn and reallocated amongst the others who have exported most of the MAEQ and are willing to export beyond their original MAEQ. It is understood that this process of reallocation is under active consideration and would be announced shortly.

As per experts in the international trade, there is an estimated deficit of 8 to 9 million tonnes in 2019-20 in the global market and that the Thailand’s exports are likely to be down by 3-4 million tonnes due to lower production therein.

Global sugar prices for raw and white sugar are currently prevailing at 20-25 per cent more than the price which prevailed three months ago when India started its exports against the 6 million tonnes of the MAEQ.

Accordingly, Indian sugar exports may get accelerated in the coming months, and could achieve more than 5 million tonnes of the MAEQ in the whole season.

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