After a huge fall in sugar production 2016-17, that forced the import of 500,000 tonnes, official and industry circles expect the upcoming “sugar year” to be sweeter, thanks to a good monsoon and signals of better yield from the field.
According to the officials in the Agriculture Ministry and organisations representing private and cooperative sugar factories, output in 2017-18 (the “sugar year” starts from October) is to cross 25 million tonnes, almost 25 per cent higher than in 2016-17.
“Most of the water reservoirs in the sugarcane-producing states, especially in Maharashtra, are filled to their normal level. In addition, the cultivation area in Uttar Pradesh is likely to be increased. As per the inputs from the state Cane Commissioners, we are expecting the output to go above 25 million tonnes,” said a senior official.
In 2016-17, the sugar output has fallen to 20.2 million tonnes due to three successive drought years. However, there will be addition of 0.5million-0.8million tonnes to this figure as sugarcane crushing is still on in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Uttar Pradesh is expected to do better in 2017-18 as well after the recovery of sugar from the CO238 variety was recorded at 12 per cent. Generally, the recovery in other varieties ranges between 8 and 10 per cent.
The opening stock of sugar (in October) will be 4-4.5 million tonnes this year while it was 7.7 million tonnes last year. However, the retail prices of sugar are expected to remain normal between Rs 41 and 43 per kg, industry sources said.