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Sugar output to decline by one million tonne

India's sugar output is likely to drop by one million tonne to 25 million tonnes in the marketing year beginning October 1 due to poor rainfall in key producing states, especially Maharashtra and Karnataka, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said. However, there will be enough stocks to meet domestic demand, ISMA said.

Sugar production is estimated to drop by 15 percent to 7.6 million tonnes in Maharashtra and by 21 percent to 3 million tonnes in Karnataka in the marketing year 2012-13, ISMA president Gautam Goel told reporters.

The main reason for this is deficient rainfall in both states. However, the production is estimated to increase in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

In the next marketing year, Uttar Pradesh is likely to emerge the biggest sugar producer with an estiamted 7.8 million tonnes as compared to seven million tonnes in the current marketing year.

In the current marketing year, Maharashtra is the top sugar producer with an estimated production of 8.95 million tonnes.

The marketing year for sugar runs from October 1 to September 30.

As per Indian Meteorological Department data, rainfall is expected to be 15 percent lesser in the June-September quarter.

Goel said that the output is estimated to be higher in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu mainly because of increase in areas under sugarcane cultivation.

ISMA Director General Abinash Verma said that despite the fall in production, sugar output will be more than enough to meet domestic demand.

"There will certainly be surplus sugar production in the next season too. We will not require to import sugar. In fact, we will have surplus to export," he said.

Verma said that apart from the estimated 25 million tonnes of output, there will be six million tonnes of surplus sugar for next marketing year from the current year.

The estimated consumption is 22 million tonnes. So, India will have an exportable surplus of around nine million tonnes in the year beginning October 1, 2012.

Till July 31, in the current season, 25.9 million tonnes of sugar was produced. With 23 sugar mills still crushing sugarcane, total output is estimated to cross 26 million tonnes, ISMA data showed.

As per data from the Agriculture Ministry, the area under sugarcane cultivation is likely to increase by four percent to 52.88 lakh hectares in the year beginning October 1, as compared to 50.96 lakh hectares in the current year.