India's sugar production increased by 7 per cent to 110.52 lakh tonnes in the first quarter of 2018-19 marketing year that started in October, as mills in Maharashtra and Karnataka started operations early, industry body ISMA said Friday.
"As on December 31, 2018, 501 sugar mills were in operation in the country and have produced 110.52 lakh tonnes of sugar, as compared to 103.56 lakh tonnes produced by 505 sugar mills as on 31st December 2017," Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.
"However, due to substantially lower rainfall and white grub infestation, Maharashtra will produce significantly lower quantity this year as compared to last. Overall, the country is expected to produce much less sugar this season as compared to last," ISMA said.
Earlier, the association had estimated that production could fall to 315 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 from 325 lakh tonnes in the previous year. The country's annual domestic demand is 260 lakh tonnes.
As per the data, mills in Uttar Pradesh have produced 31 lakh tonnes during October-December 2018, with an average recovery of 10.84 per cent as compared to 33 lakh tonnes with an average recovery of 10.14 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Although average recovery of sugar from cane is higher, the sugar production in UP would be lower as the sugarcane yield per hectare is lower than last season.
In Maharashtra, sugar production rose to 43.98 lakh tonnes from 38.39 lakh tonnes. The average sugar recovery so far is 10.50 per cent as against 10.23 per cent achieved in the corresponding period of 2017-18.
"Due to lower availability of cane in Maharashtra and an early start (of operation), the mills therein would be closing much earlier than last year," ISMA said.
"Based on satellite images of the remaining harvestable sugarcane area, trend of recovery, yield and drawal percentage of sugarcane achieved so far, ISMA will review the estimate of sugar production for 2018-19 in the third week of January 2019, and if required revise its estimates," the association said.