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

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

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

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