Sugar cooperative NFCSF on Thursday junked rumours of likely sugar shortage in the country due to El Nino, saying domestic availability of the sweetener is not expected to be "adverse" in the 2023-24 season.
Sugar season runs from October to September. The crushing operation of 2023-24 is yet to begin.
The National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd (NFCSF) in a statement said El Nino - which refers to warming of ocean surface - has impacted the drying flurry of monsoon in some parts of Maharashtra.
"However, all other cane growing states i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, have received above normal rains which has definitely helped the growth stage of standing cane to gain weight and sucrose content," NFCSF Managing Director Prakash Naiknavare said.
He also observed that there is a "widespread rumour" in some sections about possible severe shortage of sugar during 2023-24 season.
"The factual situation is contrary to this speculative projection," he said.
Citing an example of expected higher yields in certain states, Naiknavare said the net sugar production in Karnataka which was feared to drop to 3.5 million tonne is actually projected to yield in excess of 4.5 million tonne.
Uttar Pradesh, the largest sugarcane and sugar producing state, is projected to surpass its last year's net sugar production by a million tonne, he said.
"As far as Maharashtra is concerned, after a prolonged dry spell of August, monsoon has revived in September which will help improve health of standing crop and sucrose content," he added.
Naiknavare also mentioned that parallelly there is a thought process going that "India could import a certain quantity of raw sugar to supplement cane crushing in the areas where climatic impact is likely to reduce crushable sugarcane."
This assumes importance in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat where the crushing capacity has gone up. Raw sugar if used along with cane for crushing will not only enable mills to attain economic scale of operation, but will help increase net sugar production.
Area sown to sugarcane remained slightly higher at 59.91 lakh hectare till September 1 of this year, as against 55.65 lakh hectare in the year-ago period as per the data maintained by the agriculture ministry.
Sugar output is pegged at 34 million tonne in 2022-23 season, lower than 35.8 million tonne in the previous marketing year.