New Delhi: The country's sugar production rose by 7 per cent to 110.90 lakh tonnes till January 15 during the marketing year ending September as mills started crushing operations early.
Sugar production in India, the world's second-largest producer and biggest consumer, stood at 103.82 lakh tonnes in the same period of 2014-15 marketing year (October-September).
"The sugar mills have started their cane crushing operations earlier this year, and, therefore, despite lower availability of sugarcane as compared to last year, sugar production till now is higher," Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.
Mills have contracted for export of nine lakh tonnes sugar against and about seven lakh tonnes of the sweetener have been moved for exports. India is all set to produce surplus sugar for the sixth straight year at 26-27 million tonnes in 2015-16.
The sugar production in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra in the current season till January 15, is higher by 3.4 lakh tonnes, 2 lakh tonnes and 1 lakh tonnes, respectively.
In November, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had decided to pay sugarcane growers Rs 4.50 per quintal for the cane they will sell to loss-making millers, a move that will cost Rs 1,147 crore to the exchequer.
The decision was hailed by ISMA, which said that millers' cane price liability would reduce by about Rs 1,100 crore, thus partly compensating their losses.
Last year, Karnataka had witnessed a spree of farmer suicides after cane factories refused to buy sugarcane from growers.