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Sugar production till November 30 11.69 lakh ton more than 2016 output
Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Sugar production till November 30, 2017 in the current sugar season (2017-18) was 39.51 lakh ton. This was about 11.69 lakh ton higher than the production in the last season upto the same corresponding period, when 27.82 lakh ton of sugar were produced.

As compared to the 393 sugar factories which were crushing sugarcane on November 30, 2016, 443 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane on November 30, 2017.  

As compared to the 79 per cent higher sugar production till November 15, 2017 vis-a-vis that on the same date last year, the gap has come down to 42 per cent at the end of November 2017.

In Maharashtra, 170 sugar mills have started crushing operations and are running in full swing. As on November 30, 2017, these mills have produced 14.90 lakh ton, as compared to 9.42 lakh ton produced by 142 mills in the same period last year.

In the case of Uttar Pradesh, 110 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane on November 30, 2017, and have produced 13.59 lakh ton till that date.

At the end of November 2016, the 103 sugar mills crushing in the northern state had produced 8.48 lakh ton. About 5.11 lakh ton more sugar have been produced this year.

In the current season, most of the sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh had advanced their date of start of crushing by a fortnight or so, and hence sugar production is on the higher side.  

In the state of Karnataka, 60 sugar mills were crushing on November 30, 2017, and 6.82 lakh ton of sugar were produced.

As compared to this, on November 30, 2016, the same number of sugar mills were operating this time, and produced a similar quantity of 6.80 lakh ton of sugar.

In Gujarat, 17 sugar mills were crushing on November 30, 2017 and they produced 1.80 lakh tons of sugar.  On November 30, 2016, 19 mills were in operation, and they produced 1.42 lakh ton of sugar.

Crushing operations in all the other states have also begun, and slowly, the pace of crushing is picking up.

The other states have produced 2.40 lakh ton this season upto November 30, 2017. In the previous season, upto November 30, 2016, it was 1.7 lakh ton.

Sugar season 2017-18 started with an opening balance of around 38.76 lakh ton, which is the lowest ever in the last several years.

With an anticipated normal sugar production of about 251 lakh ton, and imports of about 2.85 lakh ton (of whites equivalent), the total availability of sugar in the current season is estimated at 292.61 lakh ton.

Against this, the domestic consumption of sugar is estimated to be about 250-252 lakh ton (with a growth of about 2.5 per cent).

As such, the closing balance on September 30, 2018, is expected to be about 40-42 lakh ton (i e almost equal to the opening balance of this year).

The stock-holding limit on traders implemented since April 2016 did curtail some of the buying by traders, because of which the pipeline has become almost dry.

With the government clearly deciding not to continue with the stock-holding limit on traders beyond December 31, 2017, there will be buying interests to restock the pipeline, which will give a fillip to the sugar off-take.

If, however, the government agrees to withdraw the stock-holding limit earlier, the demand will surely improve the market sentiment.

There seem to be several sugar production estimates already for sugar season 2018-19 floating in the market.

A handful of people have even gone to unnecessarily suggest that the production in 2018-19, which is still a year away, will be 290 or even 300 lakh ton.

As of now, just about 10 per cent of the sugarcane which would be harvested next year has actually been planted. The remaining 90 per cent of the planting is yet to happen across the country.

Therefore, there is absolutely no way, as of now, that one can understand about the sugarcane acreage for 2018-19, or the yields and recovery thereof, to make any kind of estimation for sugar production for sugar season 2018-19.  

In other words, any such figure being suggested by any one is purely hypothetical and theoretical, which is obviously not based on any study or analysis.

Experts are aware that the weather, including rainfall (between June and September) before the new season starts, has an impact on the yield of sugarcane as well as the recovery of sugar.

Without having details about the sugarcane acreage, the distribution of plant and ratoon, the distribution of 18- and 15-month crops in the total acreage, the quantum and time of rainfall, the water availability in the reservoirs, etc.,  any suggestion about sugarcane availability in sugar season 2018-19, and estimates about the sugar production, so much in advance, is not correct and can be misleading to the market.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has been traditionally obtaining satellite images of sugarcane crop in June every year, and will do so again in June 2018, to get an idea of the acreage under sugarcane.

It will carry out detailed analysis of the weather, the water availability, and the distribution of the crop to estimate the sugarcane yield and sugar recovery before making a proper estimation of sugar production in sugar season 2018-19.
 
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