Sugar mills in Maharashtra, India’s biggest producer, may import less raw sugar than forecast last month as the government is yet to take a decision on allowing them to buy the commodity duty free for sale domestically.
Mills may not buy more than 500,000 tonnes in the year to 30 September, half of the 1 million tonnes (mt) estimated in December, Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation Ltd, said in an interview on Tuesday. The purchase is the country’s first in three years.
We may not need that much raw sugar as time is running out for processing, Naiknavare said by telephone from Pune. We wanted it to make good the shortfall from a smaller sugar cane crop.
The food ministry in November estimated production for the year to 30 September at 20.5-22mt.
Sugarcane output may drop to 294.66mt in the year to 30 June, 14% less than lastyear, after farmers shifted to crops such as grains, according to the farm ministry.