INDIA – India’s sugar production has experienced a decline of 1.19 percent, totalling 25.53 million tonnes so far in the ongoing 2023-24 marketing year, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).  

This marks a decrease from the 25.84 million tonnes recorded till February in the previous year, as the sugar marketing year runs from October to September. 

ISMA’s second estimate projects a significant 10 percent decline in sugar output for the current marketing year, foreseeing it to be 33.05 million tonnes compared to the previous year’s 36.62 million tonnes.  

The production decline is attributed to unusually dry conditions, fueled by El Nino, affecting major sugar-producing states. 

Sugar production in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu witnessed a decrease till February in the ongoing marketing year.  

In Maharashtra, the largest sugar producer, production was down to 9.09 million tonnes compared to 9.51 million tonnes in the year-ago period.  

Similarly, Karnataka, the third-largest producer, reported a decline from 5.12 million tonnes to 4.7 million tonnes during the same period. 

Uttar Pradesh, the second-largest producer, saw an increase in sugar output at 7.81 million tonnes compared to 7 million tonnes in the corresponding period.  

ISMA noted, “In the current season, the rate of closure of mills in Maharashtra and Karnataka is slower than last year, indicating that the tail of the season could be longer this year in these states.” 

A total of 49 factories have closed in Maharashtra and Karnataka this year, a slower pace compared to the 74 factories closed in the year-ago period. Overall, 65 factories across the country have closed their crushing operations, compared to 86 in the previous year. 

Concerns about India turning into a net sugar importer by the first half of 2025 have surfaced. Low reservoir levels in Maharashtra and Karnataka are leading farmers to opt for crops requiring less water, such as sorghum and chickpeas.  

Meanwhile, domestic sugar consumption is expected to rise by 5 percent this crop year, reaching around 29.2 million tons, driven by population growth and rising incomes, according to Rahil Shaikh, Managing Director of MEIR Commodities India. 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. HERE