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Maharashtra Sugar output may fall below 100 lakh tonnes

Sugar production in Maharashtra is likely to be 10% lower in the 2018-19 season than the earlier estimates of the government and industry owing to deficient rainfall and incidence of white grub, which are expected to reduce per hectare sugarcane productivity.

“The overall sugar production of the state can decline 10% than estimated earlier. It will go below 100 lakh tonnes,” the Western Indian Sugar Mills Association (WISMA) said.

“Production of sugarcane in Marathwada, Solapur, Ahmednagar and Khandesh areas will decline 15-20% due to insufficient rainfall,” WISMA said.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) had said in its preliminary estimate for 2018-19 that Maharashtra, the second largest sugar producing state in the country, would see a 3-7% increase in output to 110-115 lakh tonnes from 107.15 lakh tonnes last year.

However, both the industry and government have revised their estimates, in view of deficient rainfall and incidence of white grub in areas including the key sugarcane growing districts of Solapur, Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara.

Senior officials of the Maharashtra sugar commissionerate said that the per-hectare productivity of sugarcane, which was estimated at 90 tonnes per hectare, was now likely to decline 5-10%.

Although the expected decline augurs well for the industry, which has been struggling to deal with excess sugar production and subdued domestic and global prices, individual farmers who suffer yield declines are likely to bear losses.

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