Crush­ing Sea­son Ends: Sugar Out­put may Fall 10% Short of Govt Es­ti­mates

The Economic Times - - Finance & Commodities - Jayashree.Bhos­ale @times­group.com

Pune: Sugar pro­duc­tion is likely to fall short of the gov­ern­ment’s es­ti­mate by about 10% even as the crush­ing sea­son in Ma­ha­rash­tra draws to a close. While the cen­tral gov­ern­ment had pro­jected sugar pro­duc­tion to be 22.5 mil­lion tonnes for 2016-17, the in­dus­try thinks ac­tual pro­duc­tion could be 20 mil­lion tonnes.

Ac­cord­ing to state gov­ern­ment data, as on Fe­bru­ary 20, sugar mills in Ma­ha­rash­tra have pro­duced 40.56 lakh tonnes of sugar com­pared to 65.62 lakh tonnes pro­duced dur­ing the com­pa­ra­ble pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous year.

Of the 150 sugar mills that had started cane crush­ing opera- tions this year, 124 mills have al­ready closed due to non-avail­abil­ity of sug­ar­cane. Only 26 mills are still pro­duc­ing sugar as against 121 mills that were in op­er­a­tion dur­ing the same pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous year.

Ac­cord­ing to In­dian Sugar Mills As­so­ci­a­tion, In­dia’s sugar deficit as on Fe­bru­ary 15 had wi- dened to 15% com­pared to 10% on Jan­uary 31. The trade body has pegged sugar con­sump­tion in 2016-17 to be in the range of 240243 lakh tonnes. The Union gov­ern­ment has es­ti­mated In­dia’s sugar pro­duc­tion to be 22.5 mil­lion tonnes and has been closely ob­serv­ing the pro­duc­tion and sales fig­ures from Ma­ha­rash­tra, which will be the key fac­tor dom­i­nat­ing do­mes­tic sugar prices in 2017. OP Dhanuka, for­mer pres­i­dent of ISMA said, “Now, it looks like the sugar pro­duc­tion of the coun­try may re­main around 203 lakh tonnes. How­ever, we will have suf­fi­cient sugar to take care of the do­mes­tic re­quire­ment and will not need any im­ports.”

Whole­sale sugar prices have re­mained sta­ble at about .₹ 40/kg.

OPDHANUKA For­mer pres­i­dent, ISMA We will have suf­fi­cient sugar to take care of the do­mes­tic re­quire­ment and will not need any im­ports

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