The country's sugar output dropped 3.2% until mid-May in the marketing year through September, partly due to diversion of cane to other consuming industries in states such as Uttar Pradesh due to a delay in crushing by almost one month. Exports are, however, expected to surge manifold to around 2 million tonne in the entire marketing year, compared with just 0.34 million tonne in 2012-13, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).
Sugar output in the world's second-largest producer hit 23.90 million tonne between October 1 and May 15, compared with 24.70 million tonne a year before, according to the ISMA data. Cane crushing has come to an end in the country, except for 20 sugar mills in Tamil Nadu.
The country had produced 25.14 million tonne in 2012-13, compared with 26.34 million tonne a year earlier, while consumption had risen 3.6% to 22.80 million tonne last year from 2011-12. As many as 526 mills crushed about 250 million tonne of cane last year, down around 2.5% from a year earlier.
This year, Maharashtra produced 7.70 million tonne of sugar until May 15, almost unchanged from a year before. However, sugar output in Uttar Pradesh, the second-largest producer, hit 6.45 million tonne, down almost 13.4% from a year before.
Earlier this year, mills in Uttar Pradesh expressed their inability to start crushing cane after banks refused to lend them working capital loans citing a drastic mismatch between cane and sugar prices. This forced farmers to sell cane to competing industries initially, resulting in a drop in sugar production.
Karnataka produced 4.1 million tonne of sugar up to May 15, up 7,00,000 tonne from the same period last year. In Tamil Nadu, production hit 1.15 million tonne, down from almost 1.6 million tonne a year before.