India's sugar production stood at 4.58 million tonne till December 15 of the ongoing marketing year, down 35 per cent from the year-ago period, owing to sharp fall in output in Maharashtra and Karnataka, industry body ISMA said on Wednesday.
Sugar marketing year runs from October to September. Mills had manufactured 7.05 million tonne of sugar in the same period of the 2018-19 marketing year.
According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), 406 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane as on December 15, as against 473 mills on the year-ago same day.
Mills in Uttar Pradesh, the country's largest sugar producing state, have manufactured 2.12 million tonne of the sweetener till December 15, up from 1.89 million tonne in the year-ago period. The UP mills had begun crushing operations a week earlier in the current season.
However, there has been a sharp fall in production in Maharashtra, the country's second largest sugar producer. Mills were able to manufacture 7,66,000 tonne as against 2.9 million tonnes in the same period a year ago, ISMA said.
Similarly in Karnataka, the third largest sugar producing state, the production declined to 1.06 million tonne till December 15 of this year from 1.39 million tonne in the same period a year ago.
"The production in Maharashtra and Karnataka is lower than last year due to the fact that mills in these states started late by one month and one week, respectively," ISMA said in a statement.
Apart from this, sugar recovery so far is reported to be lower as compared to last year, mainly because mills are crushing damaged sugarcane due to floods, along with the fresh cane as also other climatic factors, it added.
Sugar output reached 1,52,000 tonne in Gujarat, 1,35,000 tonne in Bihar, 75,000 tonne in Punjab, 73,000 tonne in Tamil Nadu, 65,000 tonne in Haryana, 35,000 tonne in Madhya Pradesh and 30,000 tonne in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana combined, in the said period.
ISMA, which represents private millers, has pegged total sugar output to decline 21.5 per cent to 26 million tonne in the 2019-20 marketing year.
On ethanol supply to oil marketing companies (OMCs), the industry body said sugar mills and standalone distilleries have offered to supply 163 crore litres of ethanol in the year starting December 2019.
Of the total ethanol, 10.38 crore litres will be made from sugarcane juice, 62.58 crore litres from 'B' heavy molasses, 86.39 crore litres from 'C' heavy molasses and 3.78 crore litres from damaged foodgrains, it said.
The supply of 73 crore litres of ethanol from sugarcane juice and 'B' heavy molasses is almost double than what was supplied in 2018-19 and, therefore, the diversion of sugar into ethanol this season is higher, it added.
ISMA also said another tender is expected shortly from OMCs, against which more quantities of ethanol including ethanol made from 'B' heavy molasses and sugarcane juice, is expected to be offered for 2019-20.