India's sugar production could fall in 2019/20 as farmers are struggling to plant cane because of a drought in two of the country's top producing states, industry sources said.
A drop in production would slash exports from the world's second-biggest sugar producer and support global prices that have fallen 15 percent so far in 2018.
Cane is a perennial crop harvested 10 to 16 months after planting. Maharashtra is the country's second-biggest sugar producer, while Karnataka ranks third.
India's production during the 2019/20 marketing year could fall to between 28 million tonnes (mt) and 29 mt from this year's estimated 31.5-32 mt, industry sources said.
Maharashtra's production could fall 16.7 percent to 7.5 mt in the next season, sources said.
Maharashtra received 23 percent less rainfall than normal this year during the June to September monsoon season, while the deficit in Karnataka's cane growing region was 29 percent during the period.
The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.