‘Ma­ha­rash­tra sugar out­put likely to plunge’

The Hindu Business Line - - COMMODITIE­S -

Sugar pro­duc­tion in In­dia’s west­ern state of Ma­ha­rash­tra, the coun­try’s sec­ond big­gest pro­ducer, is likely to fall by 39.2 per cent year on year in 2019/20 to 6.5 mil­lion tonnes be­cause of a drought-hit cane crop, a se­nior gov­ern­ment said Mon­day.

The drop will ease pres­sure on sugar mills to ex­port surplus sugar and sup­port global prices that fell more than 20 per cent last year, partly be­cause of sub­sidised ex­ports. Drought has badly af­fected the sug­ar­cane crop in the cen­tral part of Ma­ha­rash­tra

“Drought has badly af­fected crops in the cen­tral part of Ma­ha­rash­tra. The cane area has fallen and we are ex­pect­ing lower cane yields as well,” Ma­ha­rash­tra Sugar Com­mis­sioner Shekhar Gaik­wad told Reuters.

Area un­der cane for the 201920 mar­ket­ing year, which starts on Oc­to­ber 1, fell 28 per cent be­cause of drought, he said.

Ma­ha­rash­tra re­ceived 23 per cent less rain­fall than nor­mal dur­ing the June-Septem­ber mon­soon sea­son in 2018, State gov­ern­ment data shows.

The State pro­duced 10.7 mil­lion tonnes of sugar in the 2018/ 19 mar­ket­ing year end­ing on Septem­ber 30. The drought also cre­ated a fodder short­age in the State and prompted farm­ers to feed cane to cat­tle, Gaik­wad said.

In the cur­rent year, In­dia is likely to pro­duce a record 33 mil­lion tonnes of sugar, in­creas­ing in­ven­to­ries.

The Cen­tre has been pro­vid­ing in­cen­tives to mills for over­seas sugar sales and set an ex­port tar­get of 5 mil­lion tonnes.

The drought could prompt In­dia to re­duce the ex­port tar­get for the next sea­son, said one Mum­bai-based dealer with a global trad­ing firm.

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