Mumbai: Sugar production in India fell 20% in the four months to 31 January because of lower cane harvests in the main growing areas, a producers’ group said.
The output declined to 9.5 million tonnes (mt) from 11.83mt a year earlier, said Vinay Kumar, managing director of the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd. He cited preliminary data.
Lower production may force India, the world’s biggest sugar consumer, to raise overseas purchases, supporting a rally that’s made sugar the best-performing agricultural commodity this year. India may import 1mt of raw sugar by 30 September to boost local supplies, Kumar said.
“Some mills have already stopped crushing and we will end the season with a substantial decline in production,” Kumar said on Wednesday in a phone interview from New Delhi. Sugar cane output may drop to 294.7mt in the year ending 30 June, 14% less than last year, as farmers shift to grains, according to the agriculture ministry.