The Indian Sugar Industry Organization estimates that production will fall 4% to 31.6 million tonnes.

India’s sugar production is likely to fall 4 percent to 31.6 million tonnes (mt) in the October 2023-September 2024 period from 32.9 million in the previous period, according to the first estimate released by the Association of Indian Sugar Trade (AISTA). The expected production of plus or minus 3 percent does not include the diversion of approximately 2 million tons of sucrose to ethanol production. As the government kept total ethanol production at 1.7 million tons of sucrose throughout the season, the higher estimate from the trade association’s leadership suggests the government may relax a bit in the coming days, an industry expert said.

“All estimates made before or immediately after the start of crushing are very different, say 15-20 percent, so the estimates made in January are better and more reliable,” AISTA president Praful Vithalani said in a statement.

Ending stock set at 8.2 million tonnes

According to trade estimates, sugar availability in the country this season is estimated at 37.3 million tonnes, more than domestic consumption estimated at 29 million tonnes. The opening stock of sugar was 5.7 million tons on October 1, 2023, increasing the closing stock, it can be approximately 8.2 million tons in 2023-2024.

Sugar production in Uttar Pradesh, the largest sugarcane-producing state, is 11.7 million tons this season, up 9.3 percent from last season’s 10.7 million tons. Sugar production is down 10.3 percent to 9.6 million tonnes from 10.7 million tonnes in Maharashtra and 16.1 percent to 4.7 million tonnes from 5.6 million tonnes in Karnataka. In other states, total production may remain at 4.2 million tons, although there may be variations between individual farms.

Sugarcane shift to gur and khandsari units in Uttar Pradesh is higher than last season as these units fetch higher prices to farmers, AISTA said. Overall, the crop in UP is good and factories are expected to be operational till the end of March. Some mills may continue crushing till the first week of April due to climate change, foggy weather and less sunshine.

Unrecorded increase in yield

“Seasonal rains in Maharashtra increased yield and sucrose content. In addition, the unrecorded crop has also increased the availability of sugarcane, which is likely to lead to more sugar production than initially expected, Vithalani said. The crushing season may be extended due to lack of logging labor in the state. “This gives standing sugarcane more time to mature, which increases sugarcane yield and sucrose content,” he said. The factories in Maharashtra are expected to be operational by the end of March. Although it was feared at the beginning of the season that Karnataka’s sugar production would drop drastically due to drought, thanks to the seasonal rains in November, sugarcane production and sucrose content improved.

According to Vithalan, the amount of sugarcane crushed and the yield and recovery achieved so far have been estimated. In addition, the remaining yield and the use of sucrose for ethanol production are taken into account before finalizing the first estimate.

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