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Sugar production rise 7% during October-December 2018 to 110.5 lakh tonnes

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India's sugar production increased by 7 percent to 110.52 lakh tonnes in the first quarter of 2018-19 marketing year that started in October, as mills in Maharashtra and Karnataka started operations early, industry body ISMA said on Friday.

"As on December 31, 2018, 501 sugar mills were in operation in the country and have produced 110.52 lakh tonnes of sugar, as compared to 103.56 lakh tonnes produced by 505 sugar mills as on 31st December 2017," Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.

Maharashtra and Karnataka sugar mills started their crushing earlier this year and this resulted in rise in output in the first quarter of 2018-19 marketing year (October-December 2018).

"However, due to substantially lower rainfall and white grub infestation, Maharashtra will produce significantly lower quantity this year as compared to last. Overall, the country is expected to produce much less sugar this season as compared to last," ISMA said.

Earlier, the association had estimated that production could fall to 315 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 from 325 lakh tonnes in the previous year. The country's annual domestic demand is 260 lakh tonnes.

As per the data, mills in Uttar Pradesh have produced 31 lakh tonnes during October-December 2018, with an average recovery of 10.84 percent as compared to 33 lakh tonnes with an average recovery of 10.14 percent in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Although average recovery of sugar from cane is higher, the sugar production in UP would be lower as the sugarcane yield per hectare is lower than last season.

In Maharashtra, sugar production rose to 43.98 lakh tonnes from 38.39 lakh tonnes. The average sugar recovery so far is 10.50 percent as against 10.23 percent achieved in the corresponding period of 2017-18.

"Due to lower availability of cane in Maharashtra and an early start (of operation), the mills therein would be closing much earlier than last year," ISMA said.

Sugar production in Karnataka increased to 20.45 lakh tonnes from 16.83 lakh tonnes during the period under review.