Written by Rajendra Jadhav
MUMBAI (Reuters) – India is expected to produce 34.3 million tonnes of sugar in 2022/203, down 4 percent from a previous forecast, after weather hit sugarcane production in major producing states, a senior industry official told Reuters on Tuesday.
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 tons of sugar in the previous season, which ended on September 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 downgrade in the production estimate, but there is no possibility of an upward revision,” Naiknavare 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 report in December about the possibility of lower production.
New Delhi allowed factories to export 6.15 million tons 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.
The trader says the government is unlikely to allow additional exports because it will first try to meet domestic demand.
(Written by Rajendra Jadhav)