Sugar output in 2010/11 seen up by 44%

Sugar output in 2010/11 seen up by 44%

New Delhi: India’s sugar output is expected to rise by 44% to 23 million tonnes in the crop year that starts from October 2010, an industry official said, as higher prices are likely to support cane cultivation.

The output in 2010/11 would be substantially higher than an expected 16 million tonnes during 2009/10, Vinay Kumar, managing director of the National Cooperative Federation of Sugar Factories Ltd, told reporters on Tuesday.

India’s annual sugar demand is pegged at around 23 million tonnes.

“Bumper planting is going on in Uttar Pradesh because of higher prices. Producers are raising price of cane every week," Kumar said.

India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state is the biggest producer of cane.

Millers in the state have agreed to pay Rs190-195 ($4.06-4.17) per 100 kilogrammes for cane, compared to Rs140 a year ago.

Falling output forced India, the world’s top consumer and the biggest producer behind Brazil, to allow tax-free imports of raws and whites in April to improve supplies in domestic markets, spiking benchmark prices in New York and London.

After being a net importer for two straight years, India may become self-sufficient in 2010/11, Narendra Murkumbi, managing director of Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd, the country’s biggest refiner, said on Monday.

India turned into a net importer last year, after exporting a record 5 million tonnes of sugar in 2007/08, as lower cane output triggered by a glut in the previous two years hit sugar production.