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India’s sugar production set to drop 7%, could limit exports

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A drop in production in Maharashtra could lead to a drop in India’s sugar production.

Solapur:

India’s sugar production is expected to fall 7% this year as erratic weather conditions reduced cane yields, which could dampen exports from the world’s biggest sweetener producer, farmers, traders said. millers and traders.

Lower sugar exports from India, also the world’s second-largest exporter, could push up global prices and allow rivals Brazil and Thailand to increase shipments.

“The harvest was like last year but when we started harvesting we realized that the yields were very low,” said Pradip Jagtap, a farmer from Solapur district in the western state of Maharashtra, the leading sugar-producing state in India.

This year, Jagtap could harvest 530 tonnes of cane from its nine-acre plot, up from 750 tonnes the previous year.

Just like Jagtap, the other 192 farmers from 11 major cane-growing districts in Maharashtra told Reuters that prolonged dry weather during the summer and then heavy rains hit the cane crop afterwards.

“It was a harsh summer and we got too much rain from July,” said farmer Baban Karpe from Kolhapur. “The fields were waterlogged and the harvest didn’t get any sun for weeks.”

On average, farmers reported a 15% drop in cane yield, but in some pockets they said the loss per hectare would be 35%.

Maharashtra, which accounts for more than a third of the country’s sugar production, is expected to produce a record 13.8 million tonnes of sugar in the current marketing year which started on October 1, from 13, 7 million tons last year, according to the state government.

But a 15% drop in cane yields could see Maharashtra’s sugar output plummet to 11.7 million tonnes, said a senior sugar mill official and a trader at a trading house. Both declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Apart from Maharashtra, sugarcane growers in the neighboring state of Karnataka have also had to contend with adverse weather conditions. As a result, Karnataka’s sugar production is expected to drop to 5.5 million tonnes this year from 6 million tonnes produced in 2021-22, the factory official said.

Falling sugar production in Maharashtra and Karnataka could see India’s sugar production drop to 33.3 million tonnes in the year 2022-23 from the record high of 35.8 million tonnes from last year, the millers said in a previously unpublished estimate.

DECLINE IN EXPORTS

New Delhi has allowed factories to export 6.15 million tonnes of sugar in the first tranche, and the producer body Indian Sugar Mills Association expects India to set aside up to 4 million tonnes of sugar for shipments abroad in the second tranche.

But a drop in production means the government may allow a small amount for exports in the second tranche or even not approve new exports, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading house, who did not wish to be appointed in line with his company policy.

India would allow exports after ensuring there were enough supplies to meet local demand of around 27.5 million tonnes, said a senior government official, who requested anonymity. .

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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