NEW DELHI India will produce 20.3 million tonnes of sugar in the year to September 2017, a leading industry body said on Tuesday, 5 percent lower than a previous forecast.
Lower sugar output in India, the world's biggest producer behind Brazil, could exacerbate shortages and further push up prices of the sweetener.
Sugar output would fall after two straight droughts ravaged cane crops in states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Indian Sugar Mills Association said.
Since sugar is the cheapest source of energy for India's millions of poor, any spike in prices sparks anger and draws criticism.
Indians, known for their penchant for anything sweet, consume about 25 million tonnes of sugar a year.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Malini Menon)