Team Blitz India
MUMBAI: India’s sugar production for the crushing year 2023-24 is expected to witness a positive trend following a boost in yield from two key sugarcane producing states, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
Millers in both the states have reported increased per-hectare yield which has led them to revise their production figures by 10 to 15 per cent. At the national level, sugar production is expected to reach 305 lakh tonne against the 291.50 tonne predicted at the start of the season. The uptick in production comes mainly from Marathwada, Ahmednagar and Solapur regions of Maharashtra as well as the northern belt of Karnataka.
State sugar companies have seen a 15 per cent increase in per-hectare yields. “The unseasonal rain has come as a blessing in disguise for both the states. In our region the per-hectare yield has reached 95 tonne. We have subsequently revised our production estimates.
As per industry sources, Maharashtra would produce 90 lakh tonne, while Karnataka’s production figure would stand at 42 lakh tonne. A 10 per cent increase in Uttar Pradesh’s 110 lakh tonne production would push the country’s total estimate to around 305 lakh tonne. Thus, the initial scare of hand-to-mouth sugar availability is unlikely to happen.
With a domestic consumption at 280 lakh tonne and a carryover stock of 50 lakh tonne the total excess availability of sugar as of now stands at 75 lakh tonne. Buoyed by the increased availability of sugar, the industry has reignited its demand to reinstate the original ethanol blending programme.
Earlier in December, the Central government had banned the production of ethanol from sugar juice or sugar syrup and asked mills to produce ethanol only from B heavy or C molasses. However, on December 15, the ban was rescinded and diversion of 17 lakh tonne of sugar was allowed for production. Sugar mills in Maharashtra have invested Rs 17,000 crore in ethanol production and this sudden ban has put a spanner in their finances.
It is said that the sugar mills association will meet Union commerce minister to reinstate the original ethanol diversion programme. Financial health of mills and earning of farmers are dependent on it.