The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has projected about 250 lakh tonnes of sugar production for the 2013-14 sugarcane season, as against 251.40 lakh tonnes produced during the preceding season.

Lower sugar production has been attributed to delayed start of crushing this year, due to a nationwide agitation by growers demanding higher price for sugarcane and the delayed response by the Union and the State governments in resolving the issue.

Of the 58 mills in the State, 55 have started crushing, while 56 were functional at this time last year. So far, these mills have produced 4.75 lakh tonnes of sugar, which is about 57 per cent lesser than last year’s, according to information provided by the ISMA on its website.

Further, ISMA said that in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu 30 and 15 mills, respectively, have been started, producing 0.95 lakh tonnes and 0.60 lakh tonnes of sugar as on December 15, about 44 and 70 per cent lesser than the production for the corresponding time last year.

This year, only 426 mills have taken up crushing operations in the country, as against 457 mills last year.

As on December 15, sugar production accounted for 24.24 lakh tonnes, about 50 per cent less than last year’s.

Maharashtra has crushed about 128 lakh tonnes of sugarcane to produce 12 lakh tonnes of sugar, which was about 35 per cent lesser than the previous year’s. About 150 mills have started crushing against the 155 last year in Maharashtra. Of this, 56 mills are privately owned. Last year, 170 mills operated to crush about 70 million tonnes of sugarcane and produced 80 lakh tonnes of sugar.

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