Due to weak monsoon, there is an estimated decline of about 41 lakh tonnes of sugar production in the current crushing season (2023-24) as compared to last year.
According to the latest estimates of the sugar industry, the total production is estimated to be 290 lakh tonnes while the sugar consumption in the country is also estimated to be 287 lakh tonnes in the current year. Last year sugar production was 330.90 lakh tonnes.
Due to this situation, while the prices of sugar will remain high in the domestic market, the possibility of export has become almost negligible. The major reason for the decline in sugar production is the decline in sugarcane production in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Apart from sugar production, this year (2023-24) there will be diversion of 40 lakh tonnes of sugar to make ethanol. Last season, 44 lakh tonnes of sugar was diverted for ethanol production. In this way, if we include the sugar diverted for ethanol, the production including it will be around 330 lakh tonnes.
According to the latest data of the sugar industry, sugar production in Maharashtra is estimated to decline by 20 lakh tonnes to 85 lakh tonnes as compared to last year which was 105.30 lakh tonnes in the last season (2022-23). However, sugar production in Uttar Pradesh, the second largest sugar producing state, is expected to be better than last year. This year the sugar production of Uttar Pradesh is estimated to be 110 lakh tonnes which was 104.80 lakh tonnes last year. Due to this, Uttar Pradesh will again become the largest sugar producing state after three years.
In proportion to this, the biggest decline in sugar production will be in Karnataka. Sugar production in Karnataka was 59.80 lakh tonnes in the last season (2022-23), which is expected to fall to 38 lakh tonnes in the current year (2023-24). This decline in sugar production in Karnataka amounts to 36 percent compared to last year.
A senior official associated with the sugar industry told Rural Voice that sugarcane production has declined due to weak monsoon in Maharashtra and Karnataka due to El Nino. There the crushing season has also been delayed. However, he says that due to improvement in production in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, the decline in production in Maharashtra and Karnataka will be compensated to some extent, but despite that the total production will be marginally higher than domestic consumption due to which sugar prices will remain strong and farmers will also have more chances of getting better prices for sugarcane.
The outstanding stock at the end of the current season is estimated to be 59 lakh tonnes. Last year's outstanding stock was 57 lakh tonnes. The industry has estimated the outstanding stock of sugar at the end of the season in 2024-25 to be 44 lakh tonnes.
According to the industry, sugar consumption in the last season was 280 lakh tonnes, which is estimated to be 287 lakh tonnes in the current season (2023-24) and 285 lakh tonnes next year. In the last season, 64 lakh tonnes of sugar was exported from the country, while in the current season the industry figure of export of sugar is one lakh tonnes.
However, industry sources say that due to the way the production situation is developing, the possibility of sugar export is negligible. In October 2022, the government had put sugar exports from free exports list to the restricted list. After that, in October this year, it has been decided to keep it in the restricted list for the next one year.