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Output of sugar mills till February 2017 touches 162.45 lakh ton-mark
Friday, 03 March, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Sugar season 2016-17 began on October 1, 2016. Till February 28, 2017, sugar mills produced 162.45 lakh tons of sugar, as against 199.43 lakh tons produced in the corresponding period last year. As on February 28, 2017, 257 sugar mills are continuing their crushing operations, whereas in sugar season 2015-16, 390 mills were in operation on the same date.

In Uttar Pradesh, 107 mills are continuing their operations.  As on February 28, 2017, sugar mills produced 62.46 lakh tons of sugar, which is 17 per cent higher as compared to last year’s sugar production of 53.51 lakh tons on the corresponding period. On February 28, 2016, 102 sugar mills were in operation last year.

Out of 153 sugar mills which had started crushing this season in Maharashtra, 136 mills have stopped crushing, and 17 are still working.  Till February 28, 2017, mills produced 41.15 lakh tons of sugar, as compared to 70.58 lakh tons produced in the corresponding period last year.  In sugar season 2015-16, 102 mills were in operation as on February 28, 2016.

Almost all sugar mills, except one, in Karnataka have stopped crushing operations for sugar season 2016-17, and they produced 20.50 lakh tons of sugar till February 28, 2017. As against this, mills in the state produced 36.15 lakh tons of sugar till February 28, 2016, when 46 mills were running.

In Tamil Nadu, 38 sugar mills produced 6.90 lakh tons of sugar as on February 28, 2017 this season, as compared to 5.28 lakh tons of sugar produced by 38 sugar mills in sugar season 2015-16 till February 28, 2016.  Out of 38 mills which started, two mills have stopped crushing this season.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana sugar mills produced 4.30 lakh tons of sugar upto February 28, 2017.  Last year, there was a production of 6.51 lakh tons on the corresponding date.  As on February 28, 2017, 14 mills were continuing their crushing as against 23 mills which operated on the same date last year.

Gujarat mills produced eight lakh tons of sugar, and 12 sugar mills were operating as on February 28, 2017.  Last year, these 20 sugar mills which operated produced 9.19 lakh tons of sugar on the corresponding date.  Last year, during the same period, 15 mills were operating on February 28, 2016.

In Bihar, 11 sugar mills produced 4.30 lakh tons of sugar till February 28, 2017, as compared to 4.49 lakh tons produced during the same period last year. This year, 10 sugar mills are operating on date, as against seven on the corresponding date last year.

In case of other states, viz Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, sugar production till February 28, 2017 was 2.45 lakh tons, 4.50 lakh tons, 3.75 lakh tons and 3.70 lakh tons, respectively. Sugar production in these states during the current season till February 28, 2017 is slightly higher than last year.

The drought in the southern and western parts of the country during the last two years has majorly impacted sugarcane production, including yields per hectare, in these region. This has been the major contributor towards substantially lower sugar production in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.  Gujarat also seems to have been affected, though to a lower extent, as compared to the other states in this region.

Lower sugarcane availability has, therefore, resulted in earlier closure of sugar mills and lower sugar production as compared to last year and as compared to what was generally estimated to by all stakeholders.

Sugar sales by the mills in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were similar to that of last year, in the first four months of the season (between October and January 2017).  However, sugar sales have been lower from the mills in states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, mainly because of lower sugar availability therein. In the other parts of the country, the sugar sales were similar to what they were last year in the first four months.

Therefore, due to lower production of sugar, the stocks held by the mills in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were notably lower than what was held on January 31 last year.

Sugar stocks held by the mills in north India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, were significantly higher than last year on January 31. That is because of higher sugar production therein as compared to last year.  Considering that 156 sugar mills are still operating in the northern part of the country and are likely to continue till April 2017, it is generally expected that a substantially higher quantity of sugar will further be produced from this region in comparison to the drought-affected states in the western and southern parts of the country. This will add to the stocks held by mills in north India.
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