India's sugar production fell 11 per cent year-on-year to 74.05 lakh tonnes during the October 1-December 15 period of the current marketing year, mainly due to lower output in Maharashtra and Karnataka, according to industry body ISMA.
The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.
In a statement, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said that the sugar production till December 15 in the current 2023-24 marketing year reached 74.05 lakh tonnes against 82.95 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The number of operating factories stood unchanged year-on-year at 497.
"Notably, this year sugar factories in Maharashtra and Karnataka started around 10-15 days later compared to the last year," ISMA said.
In Uttar Pradesh, sugar production has increased to 22.11 lakh tonnes till December 15 of the 2023-24 marketing year compared to 20.26 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.
However, the sugar output declined in Maharashtra to 24.45 lakh tonnes from 33.02 lakh tonnes. In Karnataka, the production dipped to 16.95 lakh tonnes from 19.20 lah tonnes, the ISMA data showed.
Last week, ISMA projected that the total sugar production in the 2023-24 marketing year is estimated at 325 lakh tonnes without diversion for ethanol. The country had an opening stock of 56 lakh tonnes. The demand is projected at 285 lakh tonnes.
To boost domestic supply and control prices, the government has not allowed sugar exports in the current marketing year. India exported 64 lakh tonnes of sugar in the 2022-23 marketing year.
Last week, the food ministry allowed the diversion of 17 lakh tonnes of sugar for making ethanol by using sugarcane juice/sugar syrup and B-heavy molasses, a by-product of sweetener.