India’s sugar production (including the quantity diverted for ethanol) is estimated to decline 10 per cent to 33.05 million tonnes (mt) in the current season that began from October 1, 2023 from 36.62 mt in the previous season. It is mainly due to likely drop in output in Maharashtra and Karnataka, according to industry body Indian Sugar Mills’ Association (ISMA).

Releasing the second advance estimates of sugar production for the 2023-24 season, ISMA said the gross production in Maharashtra is estimated to fall to 9.99 mt from 11.85 mt and in Karnataka to 4.97 mt from 6.58 mt. However, mills in Uttar Pradesh are likely to produce 11.99 mt (11.89 mt), it said.

Balance sheet

As the government has so far allowed sugar diversion of only 1.7 mt for production of ethanol from sugarcane juice/B-heavy molasses for 2023-24, the net sugar production could be around 31.35 mt, ISMA said in a statement. However, mills are hopeful of some more quantity to be allowed by the Government due to comfortable stock position.

Considering an opening stock of about 5.6 mt as on October 1, 2023, domestic consumption of 28.5 mt and net production of 31.35 mt, “the closing stocks would be comfortable at around 8.45 mt as on September 30, 2024”, it said.

“We believe that the government may now easily allow around 1.8 mt of additional sugar diversion for production of ethanol in the current ESY (Ethanol Supply Year). Even then, closing stock will be sufficient enough to cater around three months into the next season,” ISMA said.

It also said 18.72 mt of sugar has been produced during the October-January period compared with 19.5 mt in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Co-op mills

Releasing the update, the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) on Wednesday said that at the end of January, a total of 192.8 mt of sugarcane was crushed across the country, of which 18.7 mt of sugar was produced with an average recovery of 9.71 per cent

NFCSF President Jaiprakash Dandegaonkar said in a statement that mills in Maharashtra have crushed 67.6 mt of sugarcane with an average recovery of 9.60 per cent and produced 6.5 mt of sugar. But, Uttar Pradesh has reported crushing of 57.4 mt of cane and 5.77 mt of sugar production with an average recovery of 10.5 per cent.

Mills in Karnataka have crushed 37.7 mt of sugarcane and produced 3.7 mt of sugar with an average recovery of 9.75 per cent.