New Delhi: According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), sugar mills across the country have produced 247.80 lakh tonnes of sugar till 15th April 2020. This is about 64 lakh tonnes less than 311.75 lakh tonnes produced at the same time last year (i.e. about 20% less than last year). However, as compared to 172 sugar mills that were still crushing sugarcane on 15th April 2019 last year, only 139 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane on 15th April 2020 this year.
In U.P., sugar mills have produced 108.25 lakh tonnes of sugar till 15th April 2020, as compared to 105.55 lakh tonnes produced at the same time in the last season. Out of 119 sugar mills, 21 sugar mills have stopped crushing operations and 98 were in operations this year on 15th April 2020, compared to 103 mills that were in operation last year on the same date. It is learnt that several gur /khandsari manufacturing units in the State have closed their operations, thereby indirectly increasing the cane availability to the sugar mills for crushing in the current season by a few lakh tons of sugarcane.
In Maharashtra, sugar production till 15th April 2020 was 60.12 lakh tonnes, compared with 106.71 lakh tonnes produced last year same period, almost 46.6 lakh tons less than last year. In the current 2019-20 SS, 136 mills have already closed their crushing operations in the State and only 10 sugar mills are operating. On the corresponding date in last season 6 mills were in operation in the State, who went on to add 0.49 lakh tons of sugar production last year.
In case of Karnataka, till 15th April, 2020, 63 sugar mills have produced 33.82 lakh tonnes of sugar. All the mills have closed their operations in the State. During the corresponding period last year, 67 sugar mills had produced 43.20 lakh tonnes sugar. Of the 67 sugar mills, 66 had ended their operations and 1 mill was in operation as on 15th April 2019, last year. In the special season last year from July,2019, 1.05 lakh tons of sugar was made.
In case of Tamil Nadu, out of 24 sugar mills which operated this season, 16 sugar mills have ended their crushing, though some might operate in the special season later in the year. Till 15th April 2020, sugar production in the State was 4.95 lakh tonnes, compared with 6.85 lakh tonnes produced by 32 sugar mills on the corresponding date last year. Of the 32 sugar mills, 17 mills had ended their operations and 15 mills were in operation as on 15th April 2019, last year. In the special season last year, Tamil Nadu mills had made 2.13 lakh tons of sugar.
Gujarat has produced 8.80 lakh tonnes of sugar till 15th April 2020 with 3 sugar mills in operation. Last year, 11.19 lakh tonnes of sugar had been produced with 2 mills in operation on the same date.
The remaining States as Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Odisha have collectively produced 31.86 till 15th April, 2020.
Sugar sales/despatches has got affected due to the country wide lockdown and consequent closure of restaurants, malls, movie halls, etc., which in turn has impacted the demand for sugar sweetened products like ice cream, beverages, juices, confectionaries, sweets etc. It is generally expected that the domestic pipeline, which usually holds 10-15 lakh tons of sugar, has dried up during the lockdown, when sugar in the pipeline got used up. Hence, as soon as the lockdown is lifted, there can be an increase in sugar demand, especially from the bulk consumers when their operations start resuming.