Sugar production in 2015-16 falls 11 lakh tons

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) The sugar production in the country in 2015-16 stood at 237 lakh tons, down by about 11 lakh tons as compared to the previous foscal, as per data released by Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).

The fall in the sugar production was widely expected with only 215 sugar mills operating in the current season as compared to 366 mills last year, ISMA said.

Maharashtra produced 82 lakh tons sugar till Thursday (the last day of the current fiscal), as compared to 93.6 lakh tons sugar in the last year. Only 58 sugar mills are currently operative in the state as compared to 135 sugar mills working last year, while drought-like conditions are said to have affected the sugar production in the state.

Sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh produced 65.7 lakh tons in the current fiscal, as compared to 63.4 lakh tons last year with only 48 operational as against 76 sugar mills last year. Due to the good weather conditions in the state and substantial improvement in cane varieties and their acreage, the average sugar recovery from the state in fact, has been significantly higher, said ISMA.

The sugar mills in Karnataka have produced 40.16 lakh tons in the current season while Tamil Nadu has produced 8 lakh tons, it said.

The current year’s sugar production has been almost equal to the domestic consumption with 11.5 lakh tons of sugar exported in the current season, it added.

ISMA also said that there are reports which suggest that due to less rainfall and lower water availability in reservoirs in some districts in Maharashtra and North Karnataka, sugar production during 2016-17, will be lower than the current fiscal.

However, the acreage under early variety of sugarcane in UP is expected to go up to around 40 percent in 2016-17.

Similarly, after two years of drought-like conditions in Tamil Nadu, the state has received good rainfall in 2015 and, therefore, the acreage in Tamil Nadu is expected to increase in the next season.

Thus, the lower expected sugar production from Maharashtra and Karnataka is expected to be significantly compensated by higher production from Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, reducing the net fall for the country in next fiscal significantly, said ISMA.

Reports from international as well as domestic agencies suggests that the dry spell in India is over and the monsoon this year will be normal, which is likely to bring good tidings for sugarcane planting next year.

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