India, known as the second-largest sugar producer worldwide, faces a substantial decrease in sugar production this year due to insufficient rain. This scarcity might make India import sugar for the first time in seven years, a significant change from its usual trend of supplying. The primary reason behind this decline is the reduced cultivation of sugarcane in leading sugar-producing states like Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The lack of rain has caused water levels in essential reservoirs to drop, forcing farmers to switch to crops that need less water and grow faster than sugarcane. These include sorghum and chickpeas, as found in a Reuters survey involving over 200 farmers. This situation might lead to reduced sugar production not only this year but also until September 2025. India’s contribution to the global sugar market, about 12%, might shift from being an exporter to an importer by the first half of 2025. This anticipated shortage in sugar production might lead to a surge in global sugar prices, favoring the primary sugar exporter, Brazil. Although the government has not responded yet, the industry expects a drop in sugar output, hinting at a potential need for imports to meet the country’s sugar needs.