India’s sugar output is likely to fall 7% this year as erratic weather conditions cut cane yields, farmers, millers and traders said, which could reduce exports from the world’s biggest sugar producer.
Lower sugar exports from India, the world’s second-biggest exporter, could prop up global prices and allow rivals Brazil and Thailand to increase their shipments.
Pradeep Jagtap, a farmer from Solapur district in Maharashtra, India’s No. 1 sugar-producing state, said, “The crop looked the same as last year, but when we started harvesting, we realized that the yield was very less.”
This year, Jagtap could collect 530 tonnes of sugarcane from his nine-acre plot, down from 750 tonnes last year.
Like Jagtap, 192 other farmers from 11 major sugarcane-producing districts in Maharashtra told Reuters that prolonged dry weather during the summer and then heavy rains later affected the sugarcane harvest.
Kolhapur farmer Baban Karpe said, “The summer was very harsh and then it rained a lot from July.” “The fields were flooded and the crops had not received sunlight for weeks.”
On average, farmers reported a 15% drop in sugarcane yield, but in some areas, they said the loss per hectare would be as high as 35%.
Maharashtra, which contributes more than a third of the country’s sugar production, was expected to produce a record 13.8 million tonnes of sugar in the current marketing year beginning October 1, higher than last year’s 13.7 million tonnes. State government.
But a 15% fall in sugarcane yield could reduce Maharashtra’s sugar output to 11.7 million tonnes, said a senior official at a sugar mill and a dealer at a trade house. Both declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media.
Sugarcane growers in Maharashtra as well as neighboring Karnataka also faced adverse weather conditions. As a result, Karnataka’s sugar production is likely to fall to 5.5 million tonnes this year as against 6 million tonnes produced in 2021-22, the mill official said.
Lower sugar production in Maharashtra and Karnataka could reduce India’s sugar production in the current year 2022-23 to 33.3 million tonnes as against last year’s record 35.8 million tonnes, Millers said in an earlier estimate.
New Delhi has allowed mills to export 6.15 million tonnes of sugar in the first tranche, and producer body Indian Sugar Mills Association expects India to earmark 4 million tonnes for overseas shipments in the second tranche.
But the decline in production means the government may allow a smaller amount for exports in the second tranche or may not approve any further exports, said a Mumbai-based dealer of a global trading house, who was named in the line. Didn’t want to get along with their company policy.
A senior government official said on condition of anonymity that India would allow exports after ensuring adequate supplies to meet local demand of about 27.5 million tonnes.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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