India's sugar production declined 24 per cent to 14.1 million tonne during October-January period of the current marketing year because of fall in output in major producing state Maharashtra, according to industry body ISMA.
Sugar production stood at 18.55 lakh tonne in the year-ago period.
The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.
"As on January 31, 2020, 446 sugar mills in the country have produced 14.11 milliom tonne of sugar, as compared to 18.55 million tonne produced by 520 mills last season on the corresponding date," Indian Sugar Mills Association said in a statement.
In Maharashtra, sugar production in the first four months of the 2019-20 marketing year is estimated at 3.46 million tonne compared with 70.99 lakh tonne in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Sugar output in Uttar Pradesh, however, increased to 5.49 million tonne from 5.28 million tonne. In Karnataka, production fell to 2.79 million tonne from 3.37 million tonne.
ISMA has pegged the country's sugar production at 260 lakh tonne for 2019-20.
The estimates are based after accounting for the diversion of sugarcane juice and 'B' heavy molasses into ethanol, which will reduce about 850,000 tonne of sugar production.
"26 million lakh tonne of sugar will be around 7 million tonne less than the production of the last season. We can already see that current year's production is trailing by almost 44.5 lac tonne till the end of January 2020 as compared to the previous season," the statement said.
The sugar sales in the first four months of the current season would be almost 700,000 - 800,000 tonne more than the year-ago period.
"In the last year, the estimated sugar sales by the sugar mills were around 25.5 million tonne and considering the higher sales in this year, ISMA expects the sugar sales by sugar mills in the current season to be around 26 million tonne," it added.