New Delhi: India’s largest sugarcane grower, Uttar Pradesh, has achieved a record output of 122.28 lakh tonnes of sugar in the current sugar season 2019-20 (October-September), as on May 15 while 46 mills are still operating. On the other side, production has declined over 43 per cent in Maharashtra, till May 15, as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Also Read - Maharashtra Sees Highest Single-day Jump in COVID-19 Deaths, 139 People Succumb to Disease in 24 Hours

India’s sugar production has declined by nearly 19 per cent as on May 15, while 63 mills are still in operation, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said on Monday. Also Read - Maharashtra News: Shops in Mumbai to Reopen From Friday, Inter-district Movement of People Permitted in MMR

In Maharashtra, sugar production, till May 15, was 60.87 lakh tonnes, compared to 107.15 lakh tonnes produced in 2018-19, 46.3 lakh tonnes less than last year. Out of 146 sugar factories, only one is still working, it said. Also Read - Cyclone Nisarga: Three Dead, Trees Uprooted But Mumbai Spared Major Damage | Key Developments

Sugar mills in UP produced 122.28 lakh tonnes of sugar as on May 15, 2020, which is the highest ever sugar production in the state, surpassing 120.45 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. Sugar output in the state is 5.48 lakh tonnes higher than the production of 116.80 lakh tonnes produced last year on the corresponding date.

Out of 119 mills operating this year, 73 mills have ended crushing while 46 mills continue their operations, compared to 28 mills which were operating on May 15 last year.

Factories in east UP have already closed their crushing operations for the current season but around 40 per cent of the factories in central UP are operating, while about 70 per cent of the sugar mills are operating in west UP, the ISMA said.

Most of the operating factories are expected to close by the end of this month, but a few may continue till the first week of June, it added.

The crushing season has got prolonged in the state as most of the Gur/Khandsari units have closed their operations prematurely due to lockdown, due to which a significant portion of cane that would have gone to them has been instead diverted to the sugar mills for crushing, according to the industry body.

As per the production data released by the apex sugar industry body, sugar mills across the country produced 264.65 lakh tonnes of sugar till May 15, 2020, down by 61.54 lakh tonnes or 18.86 per cent from 326.19 lakh tonnes produced during the same period last year.

All the operating sugar mills in Karnataka had closed their crushing operations by April 30, and have produced 33.82 lakh tonnes of sugar. However, a few mills might operate in the special season commencing July. Last year during the special season, Karnataka mills had produced 1.05 lakh tonnes of sugar. As compared to the above, 43.25 lakh tonnes was produced in 2018-19 season on the corresponding date.

As on date, in Tamil Nadu, nine mills are in operation, out of 24 sugar mills which operated this season. Till May 15, 2020, sugar production in the state was 5.65 lakh tonnes, compared with 7.16 lakh tonnes produced on the corresponding date last year.

Sugar production in Gujarat is 9.28 lakh tonnes of sugar as compared to 11.21 lakh tonnes of sugar produced in the 2018-19 last season.

The remaining states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha have collectively produced 32.75 lakh tonnes till May 15, 2020. As on date, five mills are operating in Haryana, while one mill is operating in Uttarakhand, and these are expected to close their crushing operations shortly.

As per market sources, contracts for export of 42 lakh tonnes have been signed till the beginning of May 2020. As per reports available from mills and ports, about 36 lakh tonnes of sugar have been moved/dispatched from the mills for export.

Contracts for export of sugar are being signed for various destinations, with major quantities being signed for exports to Indonesia and Iran. Shipments are also happening and are expected to normalise in the days to come.