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SUGAR

Pan-India sugar production upto March 31 touches 281.82 lakh tonne mark
Wednesday, 04 April, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The all-India sugar production upto March 31, 2018 reached 281.82 lakh tonne. This was about 92.95 lakh tonne higher than last year, which was expected, since the estimated sugar production in the current season was about 45 per cent higher than last season.

Out of 524 sugar mills which were operating during the current season, 193 mills have stopped crushing, and the remaining 331 were in operation as on March 31, 2018. However, it was understood a that few more mills in Maharashtra and Karnataka might end their crushing in a couple of days’ time.

Upto March 31, 2018, 187 sugar mills which were in operation in Maharashtra have produced 101.27 lakh tonne. Eighty-one sugar mills in the state had closed operations till March 31, 2018.

The sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh have produced 95.40 lakh tonne upto March 31, 2018. Currently, 111 sugar mills are crushing sugarcane in Uttar Pradesh.

The sugar mills in Karnataka have produced 35.56 lakh tonne in the current season upto March 31, 2018. Almost 90 per cent of the 65 sugar mills that operated this season, i e 59 sugar mills have ended their crushing and only six are running as of now.

Due to an unexpected surplus sugar availability of around 45 lakh tonne of sugar over and above the required closing balance during the current 2017-18 season, the domestic ex-mill prices have crashed once again, and the all-India average ex-mill sugar price is hovering at about Rs 3,000 per quintal. This is already about Rs 500 to 600 per quintal below the cost of production of sugar.

Though the government has announced minimum indicative export quotas (MIEQ) of 20 lakh tonne for exports to move out some surplus stocks out of the country, due to the depressed world sugar market, sugar importers are offering an free on board (FOB) price at the port of around $350 per tonne for exports.

Cane price arrears of over 14 days across the country is estimated to have touched Rs 16,000-17,000 crore by the end of March 2018. As on March 31, 2018, the arrears in Uttar Pradesh were Rs 7,200 crore. The cane arrears in Maharashtra is expected to be Rs 2,500 crore, in Karnataka at about Rs 2,500 crore and other states like Bihar, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana all put together are expected to have cane price arrears of about Rs 4,000 crore.

Considering the lower sugar realisation from domestic sales, as well as the depressed global sugar market, sugar mills are unable to generate sufficient funds for payment of cane price to the farmers on time.
 
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