Karnataka's sugarcane production likely to fall 10% during the current crop year

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 07, 2013 19:41 hrs

Karnataka’s sugarcane production during the current crop year (October-September) is likely to decline by 10 per cent to 30 million tonnes. For the crop year ended September 2012, the state’s production of sugarcane touched 33.4 million tonnes. Harvesting and crushing for the current year has begun in most of the growing regions.

The drop in production is mainly attributed to drought in major growing regions across the state. The major growing regions have witnessed a 28 per cent deficit rainfall during the southwest monsoon and 23 per cent deficit during the northeast monsoon seasons this year, according to data by the state department of agriculture.

The state received 615 mm rainfall between June 1, 2012 and September 30, 2012 as against the normal rainfall of 835 mm during the period. During the period from October 1 to December 27, 2012, Karnataka received 146 mm rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 189 mm.

Cane crushing and sugar production in Karnataka
  2010-11 2011-12 2012-13*
Cane crushed
(In million tonnes)
33.61 34.72 15.77
Sugar production
(In million tonnes)
3.67 3.87 1.56
Average recovery
(In %)
11 11.16 9.94
* For first 3 months between Oct and Dec 2012
Source: South Indian Sugar Mills Association

“We have seen good growth in the plantation of sugarcane across major growing areas. However, the drought has affected as much as 100,000 hectares under sugarcane this year. As a result, we expect about 10 per cent decline in the production of sugarcane this year,” said an agriculture department official.

Sugarcane is largely grown in the districts of Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bidar, Mandya, Gulbarga and Bijapur. For the current year, the cane planting has been done in about 500,000 hectares across the state, a marginal increase of two per cent compared to last year. However, due to unsatisfactory rains, the harvestable cane area is likely to be around 400,000 hectares, which is about seven per cent lower than last year’s 430,000 hectares, according to the agriculture department.

Since the sugarcane is largely dependent on irrigation, the decline in rainfall will not have a significant impact on the final sugarcane output, the official added.

This year, the cane planting in Belgaum has been done in 213,000 hectares, followed by Bagalkot (92,000 hectares), Bidar (35,000 hectares), Mandya (31,000 hectares), Gulbarga (25,000 hectares) and Bijapur (10,000 hectares). The average yield per hectare is 75 tonnes, while it is estimated to go down to about 70-72 tonnes this year.

For the sugar year ended September 2012, Karnataka produced 3.87 million tonnes of sugar, recording a growth of 6.61 per cent over the previous year, when the state produced 3.63 million tonnes. As many as 57 sugar mills crushed 34.72 million tonnes of cane, achieving a growth of 5.15 per cent over the previous year’s 33.02 million tonnes. The average recovery of sugar has increased by 14 basis points to 11.6 per cent, South Indian Sugar Mills Association said.

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