Sugarcane crushing in Maha, K'taka to be delayed: ISMA

Sugarcane crushing in Maha, K'taka to be delayed: ISMA


Sugar production in Maharashtra and Karnataka in the new marketing year 2019-20 is likely to be delayed by more than a month as mills have not commenced their operation because of rains and shortage of sugarcane, according to industry body ISMA.

However, sugar production in Uttar Pradesh -- the country's largest producer of the sweetener -- is likely to start next week as labourers would be available for work after celebrating Diwali festival, it said.

Sugarcane crushing normally begins from mid-October, especially after Diwali.

"Mills have not started the crushing sugarcane in Maharasthra as the state government has not yet fixed the date of operation. Also, mills are delaying because there is less availability of sugarcane in the state," Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) Director-General Avinash Verma told PTI.

Sugarcane output in Maharasthra -- the country's second-largest producer of sugar -- is likely to decline due to fall in area under the crop to 7.7 lakh hectares this year from 11.5 lakh hectares in 2018-19 crop year (July-June), he said.

Verma further said more delay in crushing would be in areas like Solapur and Marathwada regions where less sugarcane crop is expected because of poor rains.

But in southern Maharasthra like Sangli, Kolapur and Pune, sugarcane crop is in good condition and the crushing will begin once the new state government fixes the date of operation, he added.

Similarly in Karnataka, the crushing operation is expected to be delayed because of recent floods in districts of Belgaum, Bagalkot and Bijapur.

Also, the state has lower sugarcane area of 4.20 lakh hectares in 2019-20, as against 5.02 lakh hectares last year. Accordingly, sugar production is projected to be lower by one million tonnes this year from 4.36 million tonnes in 2018-19.

However, in Uttar Pradesh, Verma said there has not been a delay in crushing in the state as mills normally start functioning after Diwali festival.

The state has a sugarcane area of 23.60 lakh hectares in 2019-20, as against 24.11 lakh hectares in the previous year, a marginal decrease of about 2 per cent.

Sugar output in Uttar Pradesh is expected to be similar to last year's level of around 12 million tonnes, according to sources.

As per the government's estimate, India's total sugar output is expected to decline to 28-29 million tonnes in 2019-20 marketing year after two consecutive years of surplus output. The domestic demand is about 25-26 million tonnes.