New Delhi: The country’s sugar production has declined by over 6% at 254 lakh tonnes till May 31 in this season compared to the output in same period in the previous year mainly due to delay in crushing, says an industry official.
“Sugar production till May 31 was 254 lakh tonnes compared to 271 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period last year,” National Federation of Sugar Cooperative Factories Managing Director Vinay Kumar told PTI.
The production is expected to reach about 262 lakh tonnes in 2007-08 season against 283 lakh tonnes in the previous season. Sugar season runs from October to September.
“The crushing is still going on in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,” Kumar said, adding another 8-10 lakh tonnes can be expected by September-end.
At the start of the season, the sugar industry had pegged the production at over 310 lakh tonnes but later it had revised the estimate downwards because of delay in start of crushing in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, major producing states.
“There was a delay in starting the crushing in Maharashtra due to rain and in UP because of cane-pricing issue,” he said, adding production also dropped due to fall in sugarcane yield.
Sugar production is likely to drop to 22 million tonnes in 2008-09 season due to decline in cane output by 20%, Kumar said.
On exports, he said the figure has crossed 30 lakh tonnes and is expected to be about 35 lakh tonnes by the end of season. India exported about 17 lakh tonnes in 2006-07 season.
Exports have surged during this season on the back of assistance provided by the government.
However, Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar told PTI in Rome last week that the export assistance would be only till September, 2008 and not beyond that.
Reacting to this comment, Kumar said this would definitely affect the export of sweetener.