The total acreage under sugarcane in the country was estimated to be around 54.35 lakh hectares in sugar season (SS) 2018-19, based on the satellite images procured in the latter part of June 2018. This was about eight per cent higher than the previous SS’ cane area of around 50.42 lakh ha. It was also noted that the area was almost similar to the areas reported in SS 2013-14 and 2014-15 and slightly below 54 lakh ha.
Uttar Pradesh, the leading sugarcane-producing state in the country, is estimated to have higher sugarcane area at 23.40 lakh hectare, as against 23.30 lakh ha in SS 2017-18. ISMA is expecting a better yield in SS 2018-19 due to further increase in area under the high-yielding cane variety Co0238. That will increase the sugarcane production and availability for crushing by sugar mills. Thus, sugar production in Uttar Pradesh in SS 2018-19 is estimated to increase and be around 130-135 lakh tonne, which was 120.5 lakh tonne in SS 2017-18.
The cane area of the other major sugar producing state, viz Maharashtra, has gone up by about 25 per cent in SS 2018-19, which is mainly due to timely and adequate rainfall from June to September 2017. As against the cane area of 9.15 lakh ha in SS 2017-18 SS, the area is expected to increase to 11.42 lakh ha in SS 2018-19. The state recorded highest-ever yield of about 108 tonne per ha in 2017-18, which is mainly attributed to well-distributed and timely rainfall during the south-western (SW) monsoon of 2016 and 2017, good water availability in reservoirs and higher than normal percentage of plant cane. For season 2018-19, all other conditions being similar, the yield is expected to be lower than that in SS 2017-18 due to higher percentage of ratoon cane (having lower yield) as plant cane of SS 2017-18 will get converted to ratoon cane. Sugar production is, therefore, estimated to be around 110 – 115 lakh tonne in SS 2018-19, as against 107.15 lakh tonne produced in SS 2017-18.
Similar to Maharashtra, due to the timely and adequate rainfall between June and September 2017, sugarcane area in Karnataka also increased in SS 2018-19. The area under sugarcane in SS 2018-19 is expected to be about 5.02 lakh ha as against 4.15 lac ha in SS 2017-18. Sugar production in SS 2018-19 is estimated to be around 44.80 lakh tonne, as against 36.54 lakh tonne expected to be produced in SS 2017-18.
Sugarcane area in Tamil Nadu in SS 2018-19 has increased to 2.60 lakh ha as against 2.01 lakh ha in SS 2017-18. But, due to deficient rainfall in major cane growing districts during the north-eastern (NE) monsoon 2017, sugarcane yield is expected to increase marginally resulting in increase in sugar production. Sugar production is expected to be around nine lakh tonne in SS 2018-19 as against six lakh tonne expected to be produced in SS 2017-18. During SS 2017-18, till June 30, 2018, about 321.95 lakh tonne of sugar have been produced and another 0.5-0.6 lakh tonne were expected to be produced in the special season till September, 2018 in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, taking total sugar production in SS 2017-18 to about 322.5 lakh tonne.
As per the above, the Indian Sugar Mills’ Association (ISMA) estimates production of 350-355 lakh tonne of sugar in the season 2018-19. This is about 28-33 lakh tonne higher than the current SS 2017-18 production of around 322.5 lakh tonne. This is assuming normal rainfall.
The above is a preliminary estimate of sugarcane and sugar production in SS 2018-19 SS. After considering rainfall in July-September, 2018, water situation in reservoirs and second set of satellite images in September 2018 for across India, ISMA will review the analysis in September 2018 and will release their first advance estimates for 2018-19 season. By that time, the crop will be more mature and there will be more clarity on the rainfall and water availability.