Sugar mills in India have produced 321.19 lac tons of sugar from 1 October 2018 to 30 April 2019 that is 9.36 lac tons more than 311.83 lac tons produced at the same time last year.
But, as compared to 110 sugar mills that were still crushing sugarcane on 30th April 2018, merely 100 sugar mills are crushing sugarcane on 30th April 2019.
As less sugar mills are working as of now, sugar production in the remaining part of the current season will be very less than what was produced from 1 May 2018 to 30 September last year.
Meanwhile, sugar recovery in Northern part of India has been considerably better than the sugar recovery attained in the last season. In other parts of the country, including Karnataka and Maharashtra also, the sugar recovery is better than previous year, though not as high as achieved in North India. So, even if the quantum of sugarcane crushing in the present season is less than that in the last season, the sugar production in 2018-19 will be slightly more than last year.
As a result, the sugar production in the current year for the entire country is likely to be around 330 lac tons, which is about 5 lac tons more than last year.
The speed of sugar production in the last 15 to 20 days has decelerated, with huge number of sugar mills closing their crushing operations earlier than what was seen in the last season.
Sugar production in Maharashtra has reached 107 lac tons till 30 April 2019 and all the mills excluding one have finished their operations for the season.
Sugar mills in UP have produced 112.65 lac tons of sugar up to 30 April 2019 - 0.27 lac tons more than last year on the corresponding date. Out of 119 mills operated in 2019, 51 mills have finished their crushing while 68 others continue their operations.
All the sugar mills in Karnataka have closed their crushing for the season 2018-19 sugar season and they have produced 43.20 lac tons of sugar up till 30 April 2019.
Sugar mills in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana and Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh have produced 11.19 lac tons, 7.05 lac tons, 7.60 lac tons & 5.30 lac tons in that order. In the same way, sugar mills in Bihar, Punjab & Haryana have produced 8.35 lac tons, 7.70 lac tons & 6.75 lac tons till 30 April 2019.
Considering the opening balance of 107 lac tons on 1 October 2018, projected production of 330 lac tons & domestic consumption of 260 lac tons and exports of 30 lac tons of estimated sugar exports, sugar stocks at the end of the current 2018-19 season - 30th September 2019, are likely to be at a higher level i.e. 147 lac tons.
Field reports from Maharashtra hint that sugarcane planting in most of the regions in the state for harvesting in next 2019 to 2020 season is considerably lower than the sugarcane harvested in the current season.
In addition due to significantly lower rainfall during last season’s monsoon as also during the retreating monsoon - North East Monsoon (Oct- Dec 2018), water in many reservoirs in Maharashtra is much below the normal levels that remained so, for most of the last 7 - 8 months.
At an all India level, there is a general anticipation that the sugarcane availability will be much lower in 2019 to 2020 than what has been in the current season, thus cutting sugar production next year.