The total sugar production in the country in the current sugar season (SS) is expected to be around 260 lakh tonnes, down 20% than the 2019-20 season's 331.61 lakh tonnes, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said a statement on Tuesday. In July 2019, ISMA had released its preliminary estimates of sugar production at 282 lakh tons for 2019-20 SS, based on the first survey of satellite mapping carried out in June 2019, assuming normal South West Monsoon in 2019.
The second set of satellite images of sugarcane crop acreage across the country has been procured in the latter part of October 2019. Considering the estimates of sugarcane acreage, yields, recovery, cane drawal, rainfall and other relevant factors, ISMA has now reviewed its first advance estimates of sugar production for 2019-20 sugar season. On the basis of the October 2019 satellite images, ISMA has now estimated the total cane acreage at 48.31 lakh hectares (ha), which is about 12% less than 2018-19 SS on pan India basis of 55.02 lakh ha.
As per satellite images of October 2019, Sugar production during the current 2019-20 SS is expected to be lower than what was expected about 4 months back. The crop in the two main sugarcane growing States, namely, Maharashtra and Karnataka which contribute around 35 - 40% of country's sugar, have been adversely impacted due to various reasons. The sugarcane acreage in Uttar Pradesh, the leading sugarcane and sugar producing State in the country is seen to be slightly lower, as compared to 2018-19 SS. Taking into account the crop condition, weather conditions and area under the high yielding cane varieties in the State, an improvement in yield per hectare is expected. Hence, sugar production in UP in 2019-20 SS is estimated to be around 120 lakh tonnes, which is more or less at the same level of 118.21 lakh tonnes produced in 2018-19 SS.
As per preliminary estimates in July 2019, cane area of Maharashtra was seen lower by about 30% for 2019-20 SS, on account of drought last year in Marathwada and Solapur. Floods affected important cane growing areas Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Pune in August - September 2019. Due to water logging in cane fields for long duration, some of the cane has been destroyed completely, while some areas have been partially affected in terms of yield and recovery. Hence, cane area for 2019-20 harvesting has further dropped to 7.76 lakh ha, against what was reported about 4 months back. It is thus about 33% less than last year's acreage of 11.54 lakh ha. Taking into account all the above factors, sugar production is, therefore, estimated to drop by almost 40% around 62 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 SS, as against 107.20 lakh tonnes produced in 2018-19 SS.
Similar to Maharashtra, there was poor rainfall in 2018 last year in the cane growing areas of Karnataka, reducing the acreage therein for 2019-20 SS. Further, incessant rains in 1st fortnight of August, 2019 also affected the area contiguous to Maharashtra i.e. North Karnataka mainly in Belgaum and Bijapur Districts. Thus, area under sugarcane in 2019-20 SS is expected to be about 3.99 lakh ha as against 5.02 lakh ha in 2018-19 SS, which is lower by about 21%. Considering the various factors as stated above, sugar production in 2019-20 SS is estimated to be around 32 lakh tonnes, as against 44.30 lakh tonnes produced in 2018-19 SS.
There have not been any major changes in the other sugarcane growing States of the country. The rainfall therein has been more or less as expected. Hence, these States are expected to collectively produce about 54.5 lakh tonnes of sugar in 2019-20 SS, almost at the same level as in the previous season.
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