New Delhi: The country's sugar production has dropped by 7 percent to 21.5 million tonnes in the first six months of the current marketing year due to lower output in key producing states, according to industry body ISMA.
The production stood at 23.1 million tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
In an official release, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said that barring Karnataka, sugar output declined in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu till March of the 2013-14 marketing year (October-September).
About 330 mills were crushing sugarcane till March this year, against 231 mills in the year-ago period, it said.
As per ISMA's latest data, sugar output in Maharashtra -- the country's leading producer -- remained down by 9 percent at 7.01 million tonnes till March as compared with 7.73 million tonnes in the year-ago period.
The sugar recovery was 11.3 percent in Maharashtra. As many as 85 mills are still crushing sugarcane in the state, as against 42 mills a year ago.
Similarly, sugar production in Uttar Pradesh -- the country's second biggest producer -- was down by 13 percent at 5.8 million tonnes so far in 2013-14 from 6.7 million tonnes in the same period last year due to poor yields and higher diversion to alternate sweeteners manufacturing industry.
The sugar recovery was 9.21 percent. About 86 mills are still crushing in the state.
Production in Tamil Nadu declined by 28 percent at 9,50,000 tonnes till March this year, while the output in Andhra Pradesh fell to 9,40,000 tonnes from 9,66,000 tonnes in the year-ago period.
In Andhra Pradesh, 12 mills are still crushing sugarcane and expected to close in the next 15 days.
However, sugar production in Karnataka has increased by 12 percent to 3.75 million tonnes till March as compared with 3.36 million tonnes in the same period last year on account of better yields and good recovery.
About 43 mills are still crushing sugarcane in the state, the release added.
ISMA also mentioned that farmers in major sugar producing states are yet to be paid about Rs 15,000 crore for the total cane purchased till now in the current sugar season.
Of which Rs 10,500 crore has to be paid to farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Rs 3,300 crore in Karnataka, it added.
First Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2014, 14:40