Sugar production is expected to fall by one million tonnes in the next 2012-13 marketing year starting October to around 25 million tonnes, on likely dip in output in Maharashtra and Karnataka, an industry body said.

In the current marketing year (October-September), sugar output is pegged at 26 million tonnes. Of which, mills have produced 25.5 million tonnes till May of this year, it said.

"In the 2012-13, we are expecting production to be on lower side around 25 million tonnes as Maharashtra and Karnataka, have received very less rains so far this year," National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF), Managing Director Vinay Kumar told PTI.

Production in Maharashtra, the country's biggest sugar producing state, is expected to decline by 10% from over 9 million tonnes estimated for this year, as sugarcane yields could suffer due to less rains, he said.

A similar trend of fall in production is expected in Karnataka in the 2012-13 marketing year, he said. The state is estimated to produce 3.8 million tonnes of sugar this year.

However, sugar production in Uttar Pradesh, the country's second largest sugar producing state, is seen to be at around the current year's level of 6.8 million tonnes, he added.

Kumar said, "Planting of sugarcane is still going on in Maharashtra and Karnataka. But rains in these two states have been less by 10% so far. Higher sugar production will all depend on productivity of sugarcane."

Sugarcane is planted in Maharashtra and Karnataka for 11 months. In northern states, sugarcane planting has almost been completed. While the first round of planting of cane undertook between September and November last year, the second round of planting ended last month, an agriculture scientist said.

According to the government data, sugarcane has been planted in 5.17 million hectares as on June 15 of 2012-13 crop year as against 4.94 million hectares in the year-ago period.

The country's 2012-13 sugar production will, however, be higher than the country's annual demand of 22 million tonnes.

source: BS

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