On 29th of June, 2012, ISMA had released its "preliminary" estimates of 250 lakh tons of sugar production for 2012-13 sugar season. Since then, several other inputs and reports are further available with ISMA, such as cane acreage estimate results of satellite images, field visit reports from across some major sugarcane growing States and progress of the S-W monsoon during June to August, 2012, enabling ISMA to review its "preliminary" estimates.
There were uncertainties on the cane production and availability in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which together contribute around 40-45% of the country's sugar production. Hence, ISMA officials made more detailed field visits in these two States.
During June, July and first half of August, Maharashtra received lower than normal rainfall. However, the South West monsoon rainfall has slightly improved from the latter part of August, 2012 and most of the sugarcane growing areas have received better rainfall. Few important cane producing districts like Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar had scanty rainfall earlier but received better rains from latter part of August, 2012. Other districts like Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara were not so badly affected as the above districts. With the better rainfall during the last 2 weeks or so, water availability in reservoirs has also improved.
Mills in Maharashtra had produced around 90 lakh tons of sugar in both 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons when area under cane was 9.64 lakh ha and 10.25 lakh ha. respectively. The cane area as reported in August 2012 available for harvesting in 2012-13 was 9.04 lakh ha. (after some cane was diverted into fodder since May 2012). After considering cane diversion for fodder reportedly since May 2012, number of fodder centres set up by the State Government, cattle population and green fodder requirement between May and September 2012, ISMA estimates that cane diversion for fodder would be between 3 to 3.5 million tons of cane.
Considering the above factors, duly supported by the satellite images, ISMA expects that 65 lakh tons of sugar will be produced by the sugar mills of Maharashtra during 2012-13 sugar season. The State of Karnataka also received lower rainfall as compared to previous seasons. Area under sugarcane has fallen by 2.1% only from 4.32 lakh ha. in 2011-12 season to 4.23 lakh ha. for harvesting next season. The cane yield and sugar recovery have been considered at a lower level especially in the district of Belgaum and, therefore, ISMA estimates a fall by 21% in sugar production from 38 lakh tons in 2011-12 season to 30 lakh tons in 2012-13 season.
The State of Uttar Pradesh has shown an increase in cane area of almost 10% from 22.52 lakh ha. during 2011-12 season to 24.74 lakh ha. ( historically the highest ever) for 2012-13 season. The rainfall in U.P. has been good and the farmers have received the highest ever cane price payments due to which the cane yield and recovery are expected to be good. As against sugar production of 69.74 lakh tons in 2011-12 season, ISMA estimates production of 79 lakh tons in 2012-13 season in Uttar Pradesh.
Considering the above factors as well as the cane acreage estimated through improved technology, namely, satellite mapping across the country, including individual estimations for 80 private sector sugar mills, ISMA has reviewed its earlier preliminary estimate made on 29th June, 2012 of 250 lakh tons. Accordingly, the first advance estimate of ISMA now stands revised to 240 lakh tons of sugar for 2012-13 season.
Considering domestic consumption of 220 lakh tons and sugar exports of around 35 lakh tons during 2011-12 season, the opening balance of sugar for the next 2012-13 season would be around 60 lakh tons. Therefore, considering surplus sugar production next year and a very comfortable opening balance on 1st October, 2012, there will be enough sugar to meet the domestic requirement throughout the next sugar season.