The Indian sugar mills have collectively produced 321.19 lakh tonnes of sugar in this sugar season 2018-19 (October-September) till April 30, 2019. This production is about 9.36 lakh tonnes higher than 311.83 lakh tonnes produced in the corresponding period last year, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has said in a statement today..
However, as compared to 110 sugar mills which were still crushing sugarcane on April 30, 2018, only 100 sugar mills are crushing sugarcane on April 30 this year. With lesser number of sugar mills working as of now, sugar production in the rest part of the current season will be much less than what was produced from May 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018, ISMA has estimated.
The sugar recovery in Northern India has been substantially better than the sugar recovery achieved in the last season. In the other parts of the country, including Maharashtra and Karnataka, the sugar recovery is better than last year, though not as high as achieved in North India. Therefore, even though the quantum of sugarcane crushing in the current season is less than that in the last season, the sugar production in 2018-19 will be marginally more than last year, the sugar mills body has said.
Therefore, the sugar production in the current year for the whole country is expected to be around 330 lakh tonnes, about 5 lakh tonnes more than last year.
The pace of sugar production in the last 15-20 days has slowed down, with large number of sugar mills are shutting their crushing operations faster than what was seen in the last season. Maharashtra’s sugar production has reached 107 lakh tonnes by April 30, 2019 and all the mills except one have ended their operations for the season, ISMA has said..
According to sugar mills body, sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh have produced 112.65 lakh tonnes of sugar as on April 30, 2019, which is 0.27 lakh tonnes higher than the production achieved by them last year on the corresponding date. Out of 119 mills operated this year, 51 mills have ended their crushing, and 68 mills continue their operations now. With production of 43.20 lakh tonnes, all sugar mills in Karnataka have ended their crushing for the season 2018-19 SS.
Sugar mills in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana and Madhya Pradesh & Chhatisgarh have produced 11.19 lakh tonnes, 7.05 lakh tonnes, 7.60 lakh tonnes and 5.30 lakh tonnes respectively. Similarly, sugar mills in Bihar, Punjab and Haryana have also produced 8.35 lakh tonnes, 7.70 lakh tonnes and 6.75 lakh tonnes by the end of April 2019, the ISMA statement has said.
Considering the opening balance of 107 lakh tonnes on October 1, 2018, estimated production of 330 lakh tonnes and domestic consumption of 260 lakh tonnes as well as exports of 30 lakh tonnes of estimated sugar exports, sugar stocks at the end of the current 2018-19 are expected to be at a higher level of around 147 lakh tonnes.
The field reports from Maharashtra suggest that sugarcane planting in most of the regions in Maharashtra for harvesting in next 2019-20 season is significantly lower than the sugarcane harvested in the current season.
Additionally due to substantially lower rainfall during last season’s monsoon (June to September 2018) as also during the retreating monsoon i.e. North East Monsoon (October to December 2018), water in most of the reservoirs in Maharashtra is much below normal levels, which remained so, for most of the last 7 to 8 months. Therefore, the indications are that the acreage under sugarcane in Maharashtra for next year’s harvesting will be significantly lower than the current season.
Therefore, at an all India level there is a general expectation that the sugarcane availability will be much lower in 2019-20 than what has been in the current season, thereby reducing sugar production next year. Further, with additional ethanol production capacities getting installed and expanding existing capacities at a very fast pace, the sugar industry will be better placed to divert larger quantities of ‘B’ heavy molasses/sugarcane juice, away from sugar into ethanol in the last season. That, in turn will further reduce sugar production in the next season the sugar mills body has said.
ISMA is planning to obtain satellite images of the sugarcane acreage across the country in latter part of June 2019 to make its preliminary estimates of sugarcane availability and sugar production for 2019-20 sugar season.