Agri Business

5.8-lakh tonne spurt in domestic sugar pick-up till April

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 17, 2021

Production this season expected to touch 307 lt; mills ink export deals for 57 lt so far

Sugar mills in the country sold 152.61 lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar in the domestic market in last seven months till April compared with 146.8 lt during the corresponding period in the previous sugar season. This is contrary to popular belief that sugar sales are down in the country due to Covid pandemic, according to a top official of Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).

“This has not happened because the lockdown has not restricted people from selling ice creams or manufacturing goodies such as cakes, biscuits and other sweetmeats. Last time, all these activities were stopped,” ISMA Director-General Abinash C Verma told BusinessLine.

According to latest sugar production data released by the sugar industry body, the sale of sugar in April was 23.13 lt against the sales quota of 22 lt. “This is slightly on a higher side,” Verma said.

Sugar exporters contract 52 lakh tonnes for shipments, 33 lakh tonnes shipped out

Rise in MSP

Sugar mills, which surpassed their earlier estimate of 302 lt to notch up 303.6 lt till May 15, which is 38.28 lt more compared with the same period last year, also reminded the government about the need for increasing the minimum selling price (MSP) of sugar from ₹31 a kg.

“The increase in MSP of sugar from current level of ₹31 a kg, which was last fixed in February 2019, seems to be the only realistic way to ensure that mills improve their cash flows and are able to effectively reduce the cane price arrears of farmers faster,” ISMA said in a statement.

A committee headed by Home Minister Amit Shah had proposed to increase it to ₹33 a kg late last year.

With 44 mills across the country still crushing sugarcane and special crushing seasons are expected in Tamil Nadu and South Karnataka, the total sugar production in the country in the current season is expected to touch 307 lt — nearly 5 lt more than the earlier projection.

Another factor that contributed to higher sugar production was early stoppage of gur and khandsari production this year. This led to more sugarcane becoming available for sugar production.

Sugar output up 20% at 259 lakh tonnes till March 15

State-wise output

According to ISMA, mills in Uttar Pradesh produced 108.7 lt (122.58 lt) of sugar, while Maharashtra mills produced 106.16 lt (61.35 lt). As many as 21 UP mills continue to crush sugarcane, while most will conclude crushing in May itself, some may continue well into June.

Sugar production in Karnataka, where 66 mills were in operation, in the current season was 41.67 lt against 33.82 lt last year. However, a few mills are expected to resume crushing in a special season commencing in July this year. A similar special season last year yielded 1.12 lt of sugar.

All other sugar-producing States contributed an additional 47.07 lt to the total production.

As per information available ports and markets, contracts for exporting about 57 lt have already been signed so far. This is 95 per cent of quota for the current sugar year. While 37 lt of sugar has already been exported during the January-March, another 7-8 lt are in the pipeline to be exported this month, ISMA said.

Published on May 17, 2021

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