Sugar mills in the country produced 194 lakh tonnes (lt) of the commodity up to February 28, some 23.6 lt more than at the same time last season (October-September), according to latest estimates released by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) on Tuesday.
The association said that with lower sugar prices this year, sugarcane arrears, which stand at Rs.14,500 crore this year, may rise despite the export subsidy on raw sugar being cleared by the Centre for 14 lt at Rs. 4,000/tonne.
The outstanding payments owed to cane farmers for the 2014-15 season have already surpassed peak arrears of Rs. 13,000 crore last season. For the 7.5 lt exported last season between March and September under the incentive scheme, ISMA expects payments to be made this month. “The government notification is awaited. Meanwhile, global prices have fallen and demand for raw sugar for export is on the lower side and will flow in as and when global prices improve by even 50 points,” it said in a statement.
Maharasthra, UP lead
While 511 mills have undertaken crushing operations this season, 455 mills produced 170.43 lt in 2013-14, up 14 per cent.
Maharashtra, the largest sugar producing State, had 177 mills operating which produced 74 lt, against 129 mills, which produced 57.54 lt sugar last season. Around 49.6 lt were produced by 118 mills in Uttar Pradesh at the end of February against 43.4 lt last year. Mills in Bihar produced 4.75 lt this season compared with 3.73 lt last year.
In Karnataka, 63 mills produced 32.8 lt compared with 30.94 lt produced by 56 mills last season. In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana and Gujarat the output declined to 4.6 lt, 7.3 lt and 8.4 lt against 6.5 lt, 7.72 lt and 8.64 lt respectively.
The association said a government condition made it mandatory that mills having ethanol production capacity will need to supply 25 per cent of their alcohol production as ethanol for the blending programme to be eligible for the export incentive.
It estimated that of 100 cooperative mills in Maharashtra 60 do not have distilleries and would not benefit from the scheme. Of the rest, more than half had already started supplies.
“The condition will at best impact five to eight sugar mills in Maharashtra which have an opportunity to participate in ethanol supplies against the EoI expected to be floated by OMCs in the latter part of March,” it said.
Source : http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-agri-biz-and-commodity/sugar-production-up-14-till-february/article6956516.ece