January 17, 2020 / 9:31 AM / a month ago

India's Oct 1 to Jan 15 sugar output down 26% - trade body

A farmer works in his sugarcane field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, February 28, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian mills produced 10.9 million tonnes of sugar between Oct. 1 and Jan. 15, down 26% from a year earlier, due to lower production in the drought-hit western state of Maharashtra, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said on Friday.

The country is the world’s biggest sugar producer and lower output could support global prices.

Mills in Maharashtra have produced 2.55 million tonnes of sugar, down from 5.7 million tonnes during the same period a year ago, the ISMA said in a statement.

India’s sugar output in 2019/20 could fall 20% to 26.3 million tonnes, the lowest level in three years, after drought in 2018 forced farmers to curb cane planting and flooding damaged crops in key growing areas in 2019.

India is poised to break its own export record this year thanks to a flurry of overseas sales in the past few months, prompted by attractive global prices, trade and industry officials said.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Alex Richardson

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