Sugar production for 2020-21 season estimated at 310 lakh tonnes: ISMA

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New Delhi: In June 2020, ISMA had released its preliminary estimates of net sugar production at 305 lakh tonnes for 2020-21 SS, based on the first survey of satellite mapping carried out in June 2020. This was estimated after considering a diversion of 15 lakh Tonnes of sugar for production of Ethanol using B heavy molasses / juice / syrup.

The second set of satellite images of sugarcane crop acreage across the country has been procured in the 1st week of October 2020. Based on the satellite images so procured, the total acreage under sugarcane in the country is estimated to be around 52.68 lakh hectares in 2020-21 SS, which is about 9% higher than 2019-20 sugar season’s cane area of 48.41 lakh ha.

The same was discussed in the meeting of ISMA on 19th October’2020, wherein representatives from sugar producing States from across the country were present. The images of the cane area, field reports regarding expected yield, sugar recovery, drawal percentage, impact of previous and current year’s rainfall, water availability in reservoirs, and other related aspects were also discussed in detail.

ISMA is accordingly releasing its State–wise 1st Advance estimates of sugar production for the 2020-21 SS. This is without considering reduction of sugar because of diversion of B heavy molasses and sugarcane juice/ syrup into production of ethanol.

Uttar Pradesh, the leading sugarcane producing State in the country, is estimated to have sugarcane area at 23.07 lakh hectares, as against 23.21 lakh ha. in 2019-20 SS, i.e. a marginal decrease by about 0.5%. It is noteworthy that sugar production of the State last year in 2019-20 SS, turned out to be about 5 lakh tonnes more due to higher drawal % of cane by the sugar mills, mainly due to extra cane diversion from Gur / Khandsari manufacturing units to sugar units, owing to premature closure of their operations due to lockdown. In the current year, ISMA is expecting normal drawal % of the cane by the sugar mills as all the Gur / Khandsari units would resume normal operations. Considering the area and normal operations by Gur / Khandsari units, as also the field reports of the overall standing crop, sugar production in U.P. in 2020-21 SS is estimated to be around 124.57 lakh tonnes, as against 126.37 lakh tonnes produced in the 2019-20 SS.

The other major sugar producing State, Maharashtra’s net cane area has gone up by about 48% in 2020-21 SS, which is mainly due to above normal SW and NE monsoon in 2019, followed by normal rainfall from January to March’ 2020. As against the net cane area of 7.76 lakh ha. in 2019-20 SS, area is expected to increase to 11.48 lakh ha in 2020-21 SS. It is noteworthy that during 2019-20 SS, around 0.5 lakh ha cane area was also lost due to floods in July- August’ 2019.

Remarkable increase in cane area clearly suggests a significant increase in new plantation indicating much higher % of plant cane (having higher yield) w.r.t % of ratoon. Further, due to normal pre – Monsoon rainfall ‘2020 followed by normal SW rainfall, and sufficient level of water in reservoirs, overall yield per hectare is expected to go up in the State. Sugar production is, therefore, estimated to be around 108.02 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 SS, as against 61.68 lakh tonnes produced in 2019-20 SS, i.e. higher by about 46.34 lakh tonnes.

Also, due to timely and adequate rainfall, sugarcane area in Karnataka has also increased in 2020-21 SS. Area under sugarcane in 2020-21 SS is expected to be about 5.01 lakh ha as against 4.20 lakh ha. in 2019-20 SS, higher by about 19%. In view of normal SW monsoon in 2020 and sufficient water level in reservoirs as also standing crop condition, sugar production in 2020-21 SS is estimated to be around 46.04 lakh tonnes, as against 34.96 lakh tonnes produced in 2019-20 SS.

Sugarcane area in Tamil Nadu for 2020-21 SS is expected to be more or less similar to that was in 2019-20 SS. As against 2.30 lakh ha area in 2019-20 SS, cane area is about 2.20 lakh ha for 2020-21 SS. Sugar production is, therefore, expected to be around 7.51 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 SS as against 7.90 lakh tonnes produced in 2019-20 SS.

Sugarcane area in Gujarat for 2020-21 SS has increased by about 7% to about 2.01 lakh ha. as against 1.87 lakh ha. in 2019-20 SS. Sugar production is, therefore, expected to be around 10.81 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 SS as against 9.32 lakh tonnes produced in 2019-20 SS.

There has not been any major changes in the other sugarcane growing States of the country. The rainfall therein has been more or less as expected. Hence, these States are expected to collectively produce about 33.28 lakh tonnes of sugar in 2020-21 SS, almost at the same level as in the previous season.

As per above, and as per total sugarcane expected to be available to the sugar industry for making sugar, ISMA estimates sugar production of 330.23 lakh tonnes of sugar in the season 2020-21.

The above estimation of 330.23 lakh tonnes of sugar production is based on total sugarcane expected to be crushed by sugar mills in 2020-21 SS. However, since a significant quantity of sugarcane juice and B-molasses will be diverted into ethanol production, a proportionate quantity of sugar production will get reduced. With higher availability of sugarcane and surplus sugar production, it is estimated that a larger quantity of cane juice / syrup and B-molasses will get diverted to ethanol. Accordingly, it is estimated that the diversion of cane juice and B-molasses to ethanol will reduce sugar production by 20 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 SS, as compared to about 8 lakh tonnes diverted in 2019-20 SS. However, ISMA will get a better idea of this diversion once the tenders happen and bids are given by millers for ethanol supplies.

Therefore, after accounting for the reduction in sugar production due to diversion of cane juice and B-molasses to ethanol, ISMA estimates sugar production in 2020-21 at around 310 lakh tonnes of sugar.

With an opening balance as on 1st Oct. 2019 of 145.80 lakh tonnes, sugar production for the season 2019-20 of around 274.2 lakh tonnes, domestic sales of around 257 lakh tonnes and exports of around 56.5 lakh tonnes during the season, the opening stocks as on 1st Oct, 2020, is estimated to be around 106.4 lakh tonnes.

The OB of about 106.4 lakh tonnes on 1st Oct. 2020, will be 39 lakh tonnes less than the opening stock as on 1st Oct 2019. However, the OB for 2020-21 of the 106.4 lakh tonnes is still 55 lakh tonnes more than the domestic requirement for the initial months of next season, till when new season’s sugar does not get fully available in the market.

Since, we expect much higher production in 2020-21 SS, India will need to continue to export about 60 lakh tonnes of the surplus sugar out of the country during 2020-21 SS.

The sugarcane crushing for the season 2020-21 is expected to start soon. Therefore, a better picture would emerge after a few months when actual trend of yields and sugar recoveries would become available. As has been the practice, ISMA will again review the sugarcane and sugar production estimates in January 2021, when the trends of the above are available.

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