ISMA predicts an 8% drop in sugar output to 33.7 MT.

In the initial estimate of the output, released on Tuesday by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), India’s gross sugar production is predicted to fall by 8% to 33.7 million tonne (MT) in the 2023–24 season (October–September) compared to the previous season.

According to ISMA, this season’s sugar output will be enough to meet the country’s expected 27.8 MT annual demand. The country’s sugar cane acreage is projected to reach approximately 5.7 million hectares for the 2023–2024 growing season.

The trade association did note that the expected output does include the diversion of sugar toward the manufacture of ethanol, and that the amount of output diverted for ethanol in the present season would not be disclosed until the procurement price for the ethanol supply year 2023–2024 (December–October) has been announced.

Previous reports from trade sources indicated that the current season will see the diversion of about 4.5 MT of sugar toward the manufacturing of ethanol. That implies that nearly all of the sugar will be unavailable for export after 4.5 MT was set aside for the manufacturing of ethanol. That it is doubtful that the government would set quotas for the 2023–24 sugar export season. Six metric tons of sugar were exported in the 2022–2023 sugar season.

Recently, the government decided to keep export limits on sugar—raw, white, refined, and organic—in place until further notice after October 31. The food ministry had said that ISMA’s August prediction that the current season’s sugar production would likely be 3.41% lower at 31.68 MT was “too premature.”

Regarding sugar availability, food secretary Sanjeev Chopra recently said that there is no need to worry because the nation will have enough supply to meet demand, despite reports that the absence of monsoon rains in August was expected to cause a fall in production, impacting yield in the major producing states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The government authorized a 3% increase in the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane in June, bringing the total amount to Rs 315/a quintal for the 2023–24 season, which is what farmers would receive. Increased FRP will be implemented starting on October 1st, subject to a base sugar recovery of 10.25%.

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