Agencies, New Delhi
The sugar industry has produced 230.5 lakh tons of sugar between October 2017 and February 2018; 67.88 lakh tons more than last year during the same period.
According to data released by Indian Sugar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) on Monday, 522 sugar mills across the country were crushing sugarcane in the current season. Till February this year 479 sugar mills were still working while 43 sugar mills have shut crushing operations in the current season.
Most of the sugar mills that have closed are from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the ISMA said.Last year’s sugar production was the lowest in the last 7 to 8 years, when in 2016-17, it had fallen from normal production of 250-260 lakh tons to only 203 lakh tons.
The reason for the jump in production was due to better availability of sugar cane this season due to good rainfall, the ISMA said adding that sugar mills in almost all the States across the country, started crushing operations much earlier and at full capacity than last year.
Uttar Pradesh has produced 73.95 lakh tons whereas Maharashtra has produced 84.24 lakh tons and Karnataka has produced 33.44 lakh tons till February this year.As compared to about 246 lakh tons of sugar sales by the sugar mills in the previous 2016-17 sugar season, the sugar sales to be slightly higher at around 250 lakh tons in the current season, the ISMA statement said.
During the month of February 2018, there was a substantial improvement in the market sentiments and buying interests, by both the bulk consumers as well as the domestic traders.
The Government’s decision to increase import duty on sugar from 50 per cent to 100 per cent and a control on sugar sales by sugar mills improved the sugar prices across the country by over 10 per cent, it added.
The sugar producers body has stressed the need to export sugar in view of the raised production as it will give extra cash flows to the sugar mills, which in turn, will improve cane price payments to the sugarcane farmers and will reduce the cane price arrears, which is accumulating very fast to uncomfortable levels.