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Sugar production as per estimates in March 2024, ISMA seeks 2 million tons exports
Thursday, 09 May, 2024, 14 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The Indian Sugar and Bio-Energy Manufacturers Association (ISMA), the apex body in the sugar and bio-energy industry in the country, has announced India's sugar production for the fiscal year 2023-24. The confirmed figures suggest that the sugar production in India has reached approximately 314 lakh tons as of the end of April 2024. With additional output of 5-6 lakh tons expected from mills in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the final net sugar production is estimated to be close to 320 lakh tons.

Overall, 516 factories have concluded their crushing operations nationwide against 460 closed last year, as of April end, number of operating factories were 16, which is 57 lesser than last year, 73 mills were operating previous year on the corresponding date.

Since, some factories in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will operate special season during June to September and are expected to collectively contribute around 5 to 6 lakh tons of sugar. Therefore, final net sugar production (after diversion) for the season would be around 320 lakh tons, as estimated by ISMA in March, 2024.

Taking into account an opening stock of approximately 56 lakh tons as of October 1, 2023, and a forecasted domestic consumption of 285 lakh tons for the season, ISMA projects a significantly higher closing stock of 91 lakh tons by September 30, 2024. This estimate, amounting to 36 lakh tons above the normative stock of 55 lakh tons, can potentially lead to additional costs for the millers on account of idle inventory and carrying costs.

The country's premier sugar organisation also expects a moderate crushing season in 2024-25 due to several factors, including the early announcement of an increased Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane, favourable pre-monsoon rainfall, and forecasts indicating an above-normal monsoon. These factors are further expected to lead to a higher stock in the coming year.

In light of these projections, ISMA has urged the Government to consider permitting the export of 20 lakh tons of sugar in the current season. This would not only ensure sufficient stocks for domestic consumption and the Ethanol Blending Program (EBP) but also improve the financial liquidity of sugar mills and enable timely payments to farmers. ISMA believes that allowing exports will contribute to the smooth functioning of the sugar industry and foster economic stability.

Deepak Ballani, director general of the Indian Sugar and Bio-Energy Manufacturers Association (ISMA), said, "We are pleased to report positive production figures for the sugar industry this year. The projected estimate of sugar production successfully highlights the collective efforts of our stakeholders and the industry's resilience. The financial well-being of sugar mills and timely payments to farmers are paramount to the smooth functioning of the industry. Hence, we urge Government to consider permitting the export of 20 lakh tons of sugar in the current season, which will not only benefit the industry but also contribute to the welfare of cane farmers. We, at ISMA, remain committed to working towards the betterment of sugarcane farmers and the sustained growth of the sugar industry in India."
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