Ahead of the sugarcane crushing season, Maharashtra’s Sugar Commissionerate has revised the state’s sugar figures. As per the new figures, the state is expected to produce 58.28 lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar. This is an almost 50 per cent dip from the 107.2 lt of sugar that the state had produced during the 2018-19 season, and an almost 4 lt dip from the previous projections of 62 lt. This revision in estimates is due to the drought in Marathwada and Ahmednagar, along with the floods in Kolhapur and Sangli.
After consultations with sugar mills, the new estimates have put cane availability in the state at 518 lt. This year, 165 mills are expected to take season, as against the 195 mills during last season. The Sugar Commissioner’s office in Pune had earlier estimated the total cane area for the upcoming crushing season at 8.43 lakh hectares (lh), down from the 11.43 lh in 2018-19. The biggest drops are in Marathwada (from 2.55 lh to 1.52 lh), Solapur (from 1.97 lh to 0.97 lh), Ahmednagar (from1.34 lh to 0.70 lh) and Pune (from 1.41 lh to 1.10 lh).
The reduction in production is not likely to have any significant impact on sugar prices, given the 145 lt of stock the country is expected to open with. Maharashtra’s dip in production will not have a major impact as the production levels from Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are expected to take the country’s production figure to 270-280 lt.
At present, ex-mill sugar prices in the state are at around Rs 3,100 to 3,150 per quintal, a slight dip from the Rs 3,200 per quintal a few weeks ago. This fall in prices is due to declining sales during the ongoing Pitru Paksha. Millers hope that the upcoming festive season will see good sales and better prices. Meanwhile, Bhairavnath B Thombare, president of the West Indian Sugar Mills Association (WISMA), the apex body of private millers in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat, said they have pushed for a season start date of November 1.