India's sugar production is estimated to decline by 18 per cent to 2.73 million tonnes in the ongoing marketing year ending September due to bad weather, the government said on Friday in the Rajya Sabha.
Sugar marketing year runs from October to September.
"During current sugar season 2019-20, sugar mills in some of the States, particularly Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have started sugar production earlier than last year but the sugar production in the country is estimated to be about 2.73 million tonnes as against about 3.32 million tonnes produced last year," Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said in a written reply.
The sugar commissioner of Maharashtra informed that sugar production during current 2019-20 is estimated at about 0.58 million tonnes as against 1.07 million tonnes during last year.
However, the minister said, "With the carryover stock of about 1.40 million tonnes of last sugar season together with estimated production of 2.73 million tonnes during current sugar season, the total availability of sugar in the country is estimated to be about 4.13 million tonnes as against estimated domestic consumption of 2.60 million tonnes."
There would not be any shortage of sugar in the country in near future, he added.
"The decline in sugar production in sugar season 2019-20 in the state of Maharashtra is mainly due to low availability of cane following drought last year and heavy rainfall in this year," the minister said.
Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has pegged the production in 2019-20 at 28.2 million tonnes. It has revised its estimates downward by taking into account the expected diversion of sugar into ethanol; and on account of scanty rainfall in some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka and excessive rainfall in some other regions resulting in floods, destroying sugarcane crop.
In reply to a separate query, he informed that "as per industry sources, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between one Indian sugar mill and COFCO Corporation of China for supply of 22,000 tonnes of raw sugar.