Pests and drought set to cut Indian sugar output


Persistent dry weather and pest attacks are poised to cut India’s sugar output from a record this year even after farmers in the world’s second-largest producer increased plantings.

Production may total 28,9 million tonnes in the year that began Oct. 1. That compares with the reduced estimate of 32 million tonnes made last month by the Indian Sugar Mills Association. The National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd. forecast production at 32,4 million tonnes.

«Sugar cane, with its lush vegetative growth, is very susceptible to drought and the Indian crop suffered from this in 2018 along with attacks of white grub in the key producing state of Maharashtra, — Mark Oulton, global agricultural market research manager with SGS, said, — This will more than offset the overall 7 percent increase in acreage».

A smaller harvest than expected by the industry bodies may reduce exports from India, giving some support to prices that have fallen about 6 percent from their recent peak last month. Crop downgrades in India will force the global sugar market into a deficit for the 2018-19 season. Still, record production last year means the government is planning measures to help mills export as much as 5 million tons in 2018-19.


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