MUMBAI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - India’s sugar output could fall 20% to the lowest level in three years in 2019/20 after drought last year forced farmers to curb their cane planting and as floods this year damaged crops in key growing areas, a senior industry official said on Thursday.
Lower production could help the world’s biggest sugar producer to reduce stockpiles that have been boosted by two years of record output and lower-than-expected exports.
India’s sugar output could fall 20% from a year earlier to 26.3 million tonnes in the 2019/20 marketing year starting from Oct. 1, said Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd (NFCSF).
“Last month’s floods badly affected cane plantation in Maharashtra and Karnataka.”
The western state of Maharashtra is the country’s second-biggest sugar producer, while the southern state of Karnataka ranks third.
In the first week of August, many districts in the two states received as much as 670 mm rainfall, flooding rivers and submerging cane planted near the banks of rivers.
In July, another trade body, Indian Sugar Mills Association, had forecast production of 28.2 million tonnes in 2019/20. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)