India’s sugar production in the current 2022-23 sugar season (October-September) is nearly 1.5 per cent higher as of November 30 compared with the same period a year ago.

According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), sugar production, after accounting for the diversion for ethanol, was 47.9 lakh tonnes (lt) against 47.2 lt a year ago. The number of operating factories is also higher at 434 against 416 which operated last year on the corresponding date.

Meanwhile, farmers in Maharashtra predict low sugarcane production because of unseasonal rains and erratic weather. 

In Uttar Pradesh, 104 operational sugar mills have produced 11.2 lt of sugar while Maharashtra continues to dominate the production chart. Maharashtra has 173 operational sugar mills this season which have collectively produced 20 lt while 70 mills in Karnataka have produced 12.1 lt of sugar.

“On the ethanol front, the OMCs have so far allocated around 460 crore litres for supply in ESY 2022-23 against the first two EOIs floated by them. The OMCs have floated a third EOI for an additional 139 crore litres, for which the last date of submission was November 30, 2022. The OMCs are currently examining the bids and are expected to come up with the allocations shortly,” ISMA added in a statement.   

Based on the satellite images procured in October 2022, ISMA estimated the total acreage under sugarcane to be around 59 lakh hectares, some 6 per cent higher than 56 lakh hectares in 2021-22.

Reduced sugarcane?

While ISMA sticks to its estimates, farmers in western Maharashtra, considered a sugar bowl, fear that sugarcane production might get affected due to unseasonal rains.

Meanwhile, Kolhapur and Sangli districts received a massive spell of rain recently and sugarcane cutting was halted at many places.