INDIA: Maha sugar production to reach 7.2 million tonnes

Published: 05/10/2017, 11:20:30 AM

Maharashtra’s sugar output for the 2017/18 season is likely to touch 72 lakh tonne (7.2 million tonnes), according to India's Financial Express newspaper .

According to officials of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation (MSCSFF), around 725 lakh tonne of cane should be available for crushing for the 2017/18 season, which is likely to result in a production of 72 lakh tonne at an average recovery rate of 11.24%. This data has been gathered by the federation from several mills and these are the primary estimates for the season.

Concerns are being expressed in the sugar sector that the heat wave conditions across the state over the past few days may impact recovery rates but the officials were confident that there would not be much impact. The India Meteorological Department has forecast to normal rainfall in 2017.

In the current season, Uttar Pradesh has overtaken Maharashtra as India’s leading sugar producer. Sugar mill owners in Maharashtra had earlier expressed confidence of regaining the top position as the country’s largest sugar producer in the sugar 2017/18 season. Maharashtra’s cane area for the upcoming season is around 8.63 lakh hectares as against 6.33 lakh hectares in the previous season. Millers say that in the next season, the state is likely to produce a good crop and it will regain its top position.

The Western India Sugar Mills Association had also forecast the output in the state to be around 70 lakh tonne for the season on the grounds that farmers had raised area under cane for the season because of good rainfall. The state’s sugar output had fallen more than half at 41.86 lakh tonne in 2016/17 in comparison to the previous season when it was 84.15 lakh tonne. The production in 2016/17 was the lowest in a decade due to lower availability of sugarcane following two consecutive drought years. About 150 sugar mills crushed 372 lakh tonne of sugarcane during 2016/17, less than half of 743 lakh tonne crushed in the previous year.

Last year, the number of sugar mills in operation came down from 177 as 27 mills could not operate due to cane unavailability. The last operating sugar mill in Maharashtra closed its operations on April 9. The sugar mills from Marathwada region had closed almost two months ago, owing to non-availability of sugarcane.