Sugar production may fall below 16 million tonnes in 2009-10: ISMA

Sugar output for the current season may be marginally higher than last year, but will still be short of India's annual requirement of about 23 million tonnes

Sugar output in India, the world's second largest producer of the sweetener, may fall a tad short of the earlier estimate of 16 million tonnes (MT) in 2009-10 season, an industry body said on Wednesday, reports PTI.

"It may be a little lower than 16MT," Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) president Samir Somaiya said when asked about the likely production in the 2009-10 season (October-September). "But it will be higher than the last season or close to 15MT," he added.

However, even if sugar output exceeds last year's figure, it will still be way short of the country's annual requirement of about 23MT.

The Union government has scrapped duty on import of both raw and refined sugar to bridge the gap in the domestic market. However, output concerns have fuelled sugar prices to Rs38 a kg in Delhi, nearly double from last year.

Mr Somaiya noted that production could be less as recovery has been lower in major producing states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. Besides, he said that there could have been some diversion of cane in Uttar Pradesh because of late crushing.

The association had projected that sugar production would be 16MT in the current season. Yesterday, food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told Parliament that output would be

Mr Somaiya said that ISMA would review the output estimate after a month, as mills in UP have just started crushing.

Meanwhile, barring a fall in Mawana, sugar prices held steady in the national capital today as traders adopted a cautious approach ahead of the sugar quota release.

Market analysts said trading activity was restricted due to the cautious approach.

Among millgate, Mawana slipped to Rs 3,465 against last close of Rs 3,510 per quintal.

Today's rates in Rs per quintal: Sugar ready M-30 3,520-3620 and S-30 3510-3610; mill delivery M-30 3,250-3,450 and S-30 3,240-3440.
— Yogesh Sapkale

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