The sugar industry has produced 230.5 lakh tonnes of sugar between October 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018 in the current sugar season (SS) 2017-18. It is 67.88 lakh tonnes higher than the sugar produced previous season in the same corresponding period, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has said in New Delhi today.
However, the last year’s sugar production was the lowest in last 8 years, when in 2016-17 SS, it had fallen from normal average production of 250-260 lakh tonnes to only 203 lakh tonnes due to two consecutive droughts in the western and southern regions of the country. Therefore, the difference as compared to last year seems to be large, the sugar mills body has said.
On the other hand, this year, the sugarcane availability is better due to better rainfall and also that sugar mills in almost all the States across the country, started crushing operations much earlier and at full capacity than last year.
According to ISMA, 522 sugar mills across the country were crushing sugarcane in the current season. As on February 28, 2018, 479 sugar mills were still working while 43 sugar mills have shut crushing operations in the current season.
There are reports that some more sugar mills would be shutting operations in the next couple of weeks. Most of the sugar mills who have closed are from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Uttar Pradesh has produced 73.95 lakh tonnes where as Maharashtra has produced 84.24 lakh tonnes and Karnataka has produced 33.44 lakh tonnes till February 28, 2018. Sugar mills are still operating in Uttar Pradesh, but have started shutting their operations in Maharashtra and Karnataka, the sugar mills association has said.
As compared to about 246 lakh tonnes of sugar sales by the sugar mills in the previous 2016-17 sugar season, it is expected that the sugar sales likely to be slightly higher at around 250 lakh tonnes in the current season. During the month of February 2018, there was a substantial improvement in the market sentiments and buying interests, by both the bulk consumers as well as the domestic traders. The pipeline between the sugar mills and retail market is reportedly very thin and, therefore, with an improvement in the market sentiments, there is reportedly better buying interest for stocking purpose also, ISMA has said.