1. Commodity News

Sugar Production in India's Falls 20 percent in Current Season

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Sugar mills across the country have produced 258.01 lac tons of sugar between1st October 2019 and 30th April 2020.  This is about 63.70 lac tons less than   321.71 lac tons produced at the same time last year.  However, as compared to 90 sugar mills which were crushing sugarcane on 30th April 2019, 112 sugar mills are crushing sugarcane on 30th April 2020 this year. 

U.P. sugar mills have produced 116.52 lac tons of sugar as on 30th April 2020, which is 3.72 lac tons higher than the production of 112.80 lac tons achieved by them last year on the corresponding date.  Out of 119 mills operated this year, 44 mills have ended their crushing. 75 mills continue their operations this year, compared to 68 mills which were operating on 30th April’ 2019 last year. The pace of closure of factories have slowed down a bit during the last fortnight as cane availability has increased for crushing in the current season due to premature closure of most of the gur / khandsari units operating in the State. 

Almost 75% factories have closed in East UP and the remaining are expected to close within 5-8 days. About 30 % factories have closed in Central UP, and most of the remaining are expected to close in the next 15-20 days. In West UP, 3 factories have closed so far, some factories are expected to start closing by 10th May '2020, whereas several of them may continue till end of this month. 

In Maharashtra, sugar production till 30th April 2020 was 60.67 lac tons, compared with 107.15 lac tons produced last year same period, almost 46.5 lakh tons less than last year. In the current 2019-20 SS, 143 mills have already closed their crushing operations in the State and only 3 sugar mills are operating. 

All the operating sugar mills in Karnataka have closed their crushing operations and have produced 33.82 lac tons of sugar till 30th April 2020. However, few mills might operate in the special season commencing July’ 2020. Last year during the special season, Karnataka mills had produced 1.05 lac tons of sugar. As compared to the above, 43.25 lac tons was produced in 2018-19 SS on the corresponding date. 

In case of Tamil Nadu, some of the mills which were temporarily closed due to operational bottlenecks due to lockdown have resumed their operations. As on date, 15 mills are in operation, out of 24 sugar mills which operated this season. Till 30th April 2020, sugar production in the State was 5.41 lac tons, compared with 7.02 lac tons produced on the corresponding date last year.  Of the 32 sugar mills, 26 mills had ended their operations and only 6 mills were in operation as on 30th April 2019, last year. Last year, during the special season, 2.13 lakh tons was produced by mills in Tamil Nadu.  

Gujarat has produced 9.02 lac tons of sugar till 30th April 2020 and only 1 sugar mill in operation.  Last year, all the mills were closed for the season 2018-19 and 11.21 lac tons of sugar had been produced on the same date. 

The remaining States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha have collectively produced 32.57 lac tons till 30th April, 2020. 

As per reports available from mills and ports, about 35 lac tons of sugar have moved/dispatched from the mills for export. Contracts for export of sugar are again being signed, for various destinations, with major quantities being signed for exports to Indonesia and Iran. Shipments are also happening and are expected to normalize in the days to come. 

3.53 lakh tons of MAEQ have been surrendered by some sugar mills in April 2020. The same has been reallocated on 30th April 2020, by the Government amongst sugar mills willing to export. Therefore, it is estimated that 3.53 lakh tons will surely get exported and that further contracts will get signed in the near future for more exports out of India. 

The Government has allowed extension of time to sign contracts for exports and disptaches up to 30th June 2020, but has said that thereafter MAEQ would be deducted from mills that don’t export, and will also penalize them by making them ineligible for buffer subsidy. Therefore, another round of reallocations is expected in two months, which will further boost exports from India. 

As compared to last year’s sugar sales in the first 5 months of the season, the sugar dispatches from sugar mills this year was higher by 10.24 lakh tons till Feb, 2020. Due to lockdown, the sugar sales in March and April, 2020, was lower than what was sold last year, by about 10 lakh tons, bringing us back to same levels as last year. 

The sugar mills have reportedly seen an increase in sugar offtake in the last one week or so of April 2020. Further, it is generally expected that sugar demand will increase as soon as the lockdown is withdrawn, especially because of demand from the traders to refill the pipeline, which is almost dry, and also because of the consumption increase coming up due to summer demand for beverages, ice creams, juices etc. 

The timely reallocation of ethanol by the OMCs to depots in other States like Jharkhand, Bengal, MP, AP, Telengana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Odisha, Assam etc. has ensured that there has not been much disruption in dispatches and movement of ethanol as per contracts signed between OMCs and ethanol suppliers. In fact, this has given an opportunity to OMCs to test their preparedness in taking ethanol and storing the same in the depots in these States too. It has also allowed us to understand the policies of the State Governments towards accepting and giving permissions for moving ethanol to these new locations, which can then be smoothened for better compliance in future. 

With the objective of assessment of cane availability and crop condition for harvesting in the next crushing season 2020–21, ISMA will obtain satellite images of the sugarcane area across the country in latter part of June 2020 to make its preliminary estimates of sugarcane availability and sugar production for 2020-21 sugar season. 

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