MUMBAI (Reuters) - Sugarcane arrears in India stood at 170 billion rupees ($2.62 billion) at the end of March, a more than 21 percent jump from January-end, as a drop in sugar prices made it difficult for mills to pay farmers stipulated prices, a trade body said on Tuesday.
Mills in Uttar Pradesh owe farmers 72 billion rupees, while mills in Maharashtra have delayed payments of 25 billion rupees, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.
Indian sugar mills produced 28.18 million tonnes sugar in the first six months of 2017/18 marketing year started on Oct. 1, up 49 percent from a year ago, the trade body said.
India’s sugar surplus could swell to 5.3 million tonnes as production for the 2017/18 crop year is set to surge to a record 30.3 million tonnes, with output rising from the top two producing states, the Western India Sugar Mills Association (WISMA) said on Monday.
($1 = 65.0050 Indian rupees)
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri