Sugar output in October-March period of 2011-12 has risen 13 per cent to 23.2 million tonnes, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said.

In the corresponding previous year, the output stood at 20.45 mt.

The industry body expects output in the sugar year-ending September 2012 to exceed its initial projections of 26 mt. About 385 sugar mills continued to crush cane as on March 31, 2012 against 329 in the previous year.

Output in Uttar Pradesh stood at 6.63 mt till end March (5.88 mt). Similarly,

Maharashtra has produced 8.01 mt, about 8 lakh tonnes more than last year. Karnataka, the third largest producer has produced 3.5 mt, about 5 lakh tonnes more than last year.

With a projected output of 26 mt and domestic consumption pegged at 22 mt, ISMA believes that another 1.5 mt could be exported in the current year. The Government has so far permitted exports of 3 mt.

“With the current trend of sowing all over the country, it seems certain that sugar production in 2012-13 season will be higher than the domestic requirement and the country may continue to remain a net exporter next year too. A firmer estimation of sugar production would be available only after a couple of months,” ISMA said.

Therefore, ISMA said that with surplus sugar production almost certain next year, the country should carry forward the opening stock to next year as low as possible.

“Since the window for exports seems to be available only for next couple of months before Brazilian sugar production hits the international market, the Government should allow the fourth tranche of sugar exports of around 1.5 million tonnes” ISMA said.

This would ensure that surplus sugar moves out of the country and sugar mills are able to reduce their inventory and clear off a substantial portion of the cane price arrears which have reached alarming levels already.