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India's Oct 1-Dec 31 sugar output rises 6% on year: ISMA

New Delhi — India's sugar production recorded a 5.8% year-on-year rise to 11 million mt between October 1, when the crushing season began, and December 31, despite a drop in the number of mills undertaking cane crushing activities, the Indian Sugar Mills Association's latest data showed.

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A total of 501 mills undertook cane crushing activities this season during the first quarter over October-December, compared with 505 mills in the year-ago season.

India's sugar year runs from October to September. The South Asian country is the world's second-biggest sugar producer after Brazil and also the top consumer of the sweetener in the world.

The higher production was possible as mills in the two main producing states of Maharashtra and Karnataka started crushing earlier than the rest of the country, the apex sugar body said in a statement.

In Maharashtra, 184 sugar mills produced 4.4 million mt until end-December, versus 3.8 million mt a year ago produced by 183 mills. So far, the average sugar recovery in the western state stood at 10.5% in October-December, compared with 10.2% in the same period of 2017.

In Uttar Pradesh, 117 mills produced 3.1 million mt until end- December versus 116 mills that produced 3.3 million mt in October-December 2017. The average sugar recovery rate in Uttar Pradesh stood at 10.8% during October-December compared to 10.1% a year earlier.

Karnataka produced 2.1 million mt from 63 mills until end-December versus 1.7 million mt by the same number of mills in the 2017-2018 sugar season (October-September).

Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka are the top three sugar producing states of India. ISMA said the top sugar producing state, Maharashtra, is expected to close the current crushing season much earlier than the previous season due to low availability of cane. It also said Uttar Pradesh, the number two sugar producing state, would produce lower than the previous season (2017-2018) as yield per hectare is lower in the current season.

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--Ratnajyoti Dutta,

--Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy,