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India's Oct-Nov sugar output drops 54% as mills delay crushing

Workers harvest sugarcane in a filed in Gove village

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian mills produced 1.9 million tonnes of sugar between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, down nearly 54 percent from a year earlier, with many yet to start crushing operations, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said on Tuesday.

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

By the end of November, 279 sugar mills had started crushing operations, down from last year's 418 mills, the ISMA said in a statement.

Mills in the western state of Maharashtra, which was hit by drought and then floods, have produced 67,000 tonnes of sugar during the two-month period, compared to 1.9 million tonnes a year ago, the ISMA said.

India's sugar output in 2019/20 could fall 20% to 26.3 million tonnes, the lowest level in three years, a senior industry official said in September, after drought last year forced farmers to curb cane planting and flooding damaged crops in key growing areas in August.


(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)