India is expected to produce 34.3 million tonnes of sugar in 2022/23, down 4% from previous forecasts, a senior official said, after sugarcane production in major producing states was hit by bad weather.
Lower sugar production could limit exports from the world’s second-largest exporter, driving up global prices and allowing Brazil and Thailand to ramp up shipments.
Heavy rains and cloudy weather in September and October reduced the vegetative growth of sugarcane. “Sugar cane productivity is lower than last year,” Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills, told Reuters.
India, the world’s largest sugar producer, produced 35.9 million tonnes in the previous season, which ended on Sept. 30.
Maharashtra, which accounts for more than a third of the country’s sugar production, is expected to produce 12.5 million tonnes of sugar in the Naiknavari campaign launched in October. “There may be further downgrades in the production estimate, but there is no possibility of an upward revision,” he said.
A Mumbai-based trader at Global Trading said the revised estimate of 34.3 million tonnes was “very optimistic” and production could fall below 33 million tonnes. Reuters was the first to report in December about the possibility of lower production.
New Delhi allowed mills to sell 6.15 million tonnes of sugar in the first tranche of this year’s exports. The Indian Sugar Mills Association expects India to retain up to 4 million tonnes of sugar for shipment abroad in the second tranche.
But the trader says the government is unlikely to allow additional exports because it will try to meet domestic demand first.