New Delhi, June 2 : Apex sugar industry body, the India Sugar Mills Association expects sugar output in the current sugar season 2019-20 (October-September) at 270 lakh tonnes as 18 mills are still in operation while the production till May 31 was 268.21 lakh tonnes against 327.53 lakh tonnes in the same time last year.
Previously, the ISMA had estimated a production of 265 lakh tonnes of sugar for the current season. However, the gur and khandsari manufacturers shut their operations in Uttar Pradesh very early because of the lockdown, due to which a substantial quantity of sugarcane got diverted to the sugar mills, it said.
That has resulted in extra sugarcane crushing by the mills in Uttar Pradesh and an additional around 5-6 lakh tonnes of sugar production is expected in the current season, mainly from UP, and from a special season in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, above the previous estimation of 265 lakh tonnes made by ISMA.
The sugar mills of Uttar Pradesh have produced 125.46 lakh tonnes of sugar as on May 31, which is 7.65 lakh tonnes higher than the 117.81 lakh tonnes produced by them last year on the corresponding date even as 14 mills are still in operation in the state.
In Maharashtra, crushing season has concluded and the mills of the state have produced 60.98 lakh tonnes of sugar, which is about 46.2 lakh tonnes less as compared to 107.20 lakh tonnes produced in sugar season 2018-19.
Sugar mills in Karnataka have already closed their crushing operations by April 30 and have produced 33.82 lakh tonnes of sugar. However, few mills might operate in the special season commencing July. Last year during the special season, Karnataka had produced 1.05 lakh tonnes of sugar. Last year, sugar mills of Karnataka had produced 43.25 lakh tonnes on the corresponding date.
As on date, in Tamil Nadu, out of 24 sugar mills which operated in this season, four are currently in operation. Till May 31, sugar production in the state was 5.78 lakh tonnes compared with 7.22 lakh tonnes produced on the corresponding date last year.
The remaining states -- Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha -- have collectively produced 42.17 lakh tonnes till May 31.
The government has extended the sale time of May quota and has released 18.5 lakh tonnes of monthly quota for June 2020.
"Now that the country is entering the unlocking phase, and restaurants and malls also being allowed to open, demand of sugar will further go up in June, as compared to May 2020. Therefore, along with the summer demand, it can be expected that sugar mills may be able to sell the entire June quota, along with the carry forward from May," ISMA said.
According to the industry body, the closing balance at the end of current season, earlier estimated to be about 95-100 lakh tonnes, may be higher at around 115 lakh tonnes.