Sugar production may fall below 16 mn tonnes in 2009-10: Isma

Sugar production may fall below 16 mn tonnes in 2009-10: Isma

New Delhi: Sugar output in India, the world’s second largest producer of the sweetener, may fall a tad short of the earlier estimate of 16 million tonnes in 2009-10 season, an industry body said on Tuesday.

“It may be a little lower than 16 million tonnes," Indian Sugar Mills Association (Isma) president Samir Somaiya said when asked about the likely production in the 2009-10 season (October-September). “But it will be higher than the last season (close to 15 million tonnes)," he added.

However, even if sugar output exceeds the last year’s figure, it will still be way short of the country’s annual requirement of about 23 million tonnes.

The Centre has scrapped duty on import of both raw and refined sugar to bridge the gap in the domestic market. However, output concerns have fuelled sugar prices to Rs38 a kg in Delhi, nearly double from last year.

Somaiya noted that production could be less as recovery has been lower in major producing states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. Besides, he said there could have been some diversion of cane in Uttar Pradesh because of late crushing.

The association had projected that sugar production will be 16 million tonnes in the current season. On Monday, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told Parliament that output would be 16 million tonnes.

Somaiya said Isma would review the output estimate after a month, as mills in Uttar Pradesh have just started crushing.