INDIA: UP sugar production already nearing 1 million tonnes

Published: 11/24/2017, 3:07:47 PM

Uttar Pradesh's sugar production is nearing a million tonnes in the ongoing crushing season, according to India's Business Standard newspaper. 

The state is the country's top sugar producer and is targeting output of almost 11 million tonnes, a fifth higher than last year. According to official data, the state's mills had collectively crushed nearly 11 million tonnes of cane so far, producing a shade less than one million tonnes of sugar, at average recovery of 9.75%.

In the previous crushing season, half this much sugar was produced in the same time span, sugar recovery being 9.66%.

Sanjay R Bhoosreddy, the state government's cane and sugar commissioner, said about 100 mills had started crushing operations, after a directive for timely start. Early harvest of cane allows farmers to sow wheat in time and add to their profit.

So far, the state's cane farmers have been paid INR15.11 billion (US$234 million) by mills for their crop. By the law, payment should be within 14 days of sale of crop at the mill gate. Last year, cane farmers had been paid about INR3.25 billion in the corresponding period. Local body polls are on in UP and the government had, on October 26, hiked the State Advised Price for cane (SAP, the legal floor) by INR10 a quintal for the 2017/18 crushing season.

With this hike, projected improved sugar recovery and higher cane sowing, the government had projected UP sugar output to touch 11 million tonnes and total farmer payables at almost INR300 billion, compared to about INR250 billion a year before. Against INR305 a quintal for the common variety of cane a year before, the SAP for 2017/18 is now INR315 a quintal. For the early maturing variety, it is INR325 a quintal. Almost 70% of the crop is the common variety.

Last season, UP's sugar output was about 8.75 million tonnes. Sowing this season is estimated at nearly 2.3 million hectares, up 11.2%. The state's sugarcane department had distributed 0.6 million tonnes of high quality seed to improve productivity and sugar recovery.