Southern M’rashtra Sugar Mills unlikely to Start Ops before Diwali
Industry & govt gearing up for advance sugarcane crushing ops by a month to October to tide over shortages during festivity
Pune: Sugar mills from southern Maharashtra may not be able to start operations before Diwali, even as the industry and government are preparing for advance sugarcane crushing operations by a month to October to tide over any shortages during the festival season.
Mills in the region comprising Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur account for the biggest share in sugar production of Maharashtra, the leading producer in the country. “Our region gets a few spells of heavy rainfall around Dussehra (which falls on September 30), which makes harvesting difficult due to wet fields. The migrating harvesting labour does not start from their villages before Diwali. Thus, mills from Kolhapur will begin crushing only after Diwali (October 19),” said an executive of a cooperative mill in Kolhapur.
Food minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday said the government is not going to import sugar since the country has sufficient stocks.
However, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has assured the government of early beginning of crushing season to avoid spike in prices. It informed the government that India will produce eight lakh tonnes of sugar in October, with Maharashtra accounting for 3.9 lakh tonnes, followed by UP, which is expected to produce 2.9 lakh tonnes. According to ISMA’s estimate to the government, on July 1, the opening stocks available in Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa added up to 14.88 lakh tonnes. “South India had imported 3 lakh tonnes of raw sugar. So the total availability in south India including the stocks on July 1, the production from special season and imported raw sugar will be 19.48 lakh tonnes. As the monthly consumption of these states is 4.47 lakh tonnes, these six south states will need 13.41 lakh tonnes of sugar during July, August and September,” said ISMA president T Sarita Reddy. The trade body has therefore estimated sugar availability of 6 lakh tonnes as on Oct 1 in the six southern states. The centre has requested Maharashtra to advance crushing operations, officials from the state’s sugar commissionerate said.
ISMA has assured the govt of early beginning of crushing season to avoid any spike in prices