Sugar production in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s largest sugar producing state in 2019-20 season, is likely to fall by around 20% year-on-year to around 100 lakh tonne in the October 2020-September 2021 season as against 126 lakh tonne in the last season.
The dip in production is primarily due to diversion into ethanol production, as also increased pest infestation due to rainwater stagnation in sugarcane fields, especially in some eastern and central parts of the state.
While industry body ISMA had estimated about 105 lakh tonne sugar output after diversion into ethanol, field reports suggest that the number is expected to fall further due to a lower than expected recovery and yield.
“Mills in Uttar Pradesh have already started closing in some districts because of no cane. As of now 4 mills have already closed down and some more are expected to close by the end of the month,” said a sugar miller.
Of the total 20 lakh tonne sugar that is expected to be diverted into ethanol in the country, almost 6.76 lakh tonne will be from Uttar Pradesh, followed by 6.54 lakh tonne in Maharashtra and 5.41 lakh tonne in Karnataka.
An official of the sugarcane department in Uttar Pradesh told FE that he is expecting sugar production in the state to be around 98-105 lakh quintals. “A lot of stress is being laid on getting sugar mills to divert to B heavy ethanol, as it will not only avert the situation of a sugar glut, but will also help the sugar mills in clearing cane payments. In UP, almost 15% of the sugar is expected to be diverted to ethanol. Another 4%-5% production would be less due to loss in crop due to climatic conditions. We are looking at a figure close to 100 lakh quintals,” he said.
ISMA had revised India’s sugar output estimate to 30.2 million tonne for the ongoing 2020-21 marketing season in its second advance estimates, as against its earlier estimation of 31 lakh tonne. The revised estimate was issued after taking into account a likely diversion of about 2 million tonne of cane juice and B-molasses for ethanol production.
However, despite the dip, this year’s sugar production estimate is still higher than 274 lakh tonne achieved in the 2019-20 marketing season.