Maharashtra may become largest sugar production state in India in ensuing season

Sugar production is estimated to be 11.2 million tonnes, which is expected to be the highest in the country. Maharashtra’s closest competitor Uttar Pradesh (UP) is expected to produce 11.1 mn tonnes
Maharashtra’s highest sugar production registered so far is 10.72 million tonnes in 2018-19, when the area under cultivation was 1.16 millon hectares, the highest until now (AFP)
Maharashtra’s highest sugar production registered so far is 10.72 million tonnes in 2018-19, when the area under cultivation was 1.16 millon hectares, the highest until now (AFP)
Updated on Sep 29, 2021 05:18 PM IST
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BySurendra P Gangan, Mumbai

With the largest area under cultivation because of the satisfactory rainfall in the past three years, Maharashtra is expected to produce the largest-ever sugar in 2021-22. The production is estimated to be 11.2 million tonnes, which is expected to be the highest in the country. Maharashtra’s closest competitor Uttar Pradesh (UP) is expected to produce 11.1 mn tonnes.

“Maharashtra had always been the highest producer and ahead of UP, but since 2016-17 the northern state had surpassed Maharashtra for various reasons including varietal development. But this year again, Maharashtra is estimated to surpass UP,” said an official from the commissionerate.

According to the estimates, which were presented in a recent meeting held by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, ahead of the crushing season beginning from October 15, the office of sugar commissioner has estimated the bumper production. The presentation has stated that the areas under cultivation have been the largest ever at 1.23 million hectares from 1.14 million hectares in 20-21. This would see the estimated crushing of 1,096 lakh tonnes producing 11.2 million tonnes.

Maharashtra’s highest production registered so far is 10.72 million tonnes in 2018-19, when the area under cultivation was 1.16 millon hectares, the highest until now.

Pandurang Shelke, joint commissioner, sugar commissionerate, said, “The area under cultivation and the production in Maharashtra in 2021-22 are estimated to be largest ever. We are expected to surpass the production in Uttar Pradesh as well. Uttar Pradesh was leading because of one new variety, over the past few years, but this year we will produce more sugar. They have the advantage of irrigation, almost a fifth less expenditure to water the crops, than in Maharashtra, and their under cultivation is almost double than us. Maharashtra however, has the advantage of high recovery rate over other states.”

In 2021-22 more than 190 sugar factories are expected to go for crushing, which is expected to go up to 1,096 lakh tonnes from 1,014 lakh tonnes in the past season.

Besides the highest production in its history, Maharashtra is expected to surpass its closest competition state Uttar Pradesh in sugar production.

Sanjeev Babar, former managing director, Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation, said that satisfactory rainfall in the past three years, diversion to sugar production from other crops because of availability of water, has resulted in the rise in the area under cultivation. “With assured irrigation because of rainfall, farmers do not think of any other crop as he is assured of payback through fair and remunerative price (FRP) and losses due to calamities are negligible. UP has, in the past few years, improved its production rate by improving transportation facilities and harvesting patterns. They ensure that the crushing is done at the earliest to earn a good recovery. The area under cultivation in UP is almost double, though their recovery rate is much less and hovers around 10% when ours range between 11.20-11.40%,” said Babar.

The high production will help in keeping the retail prices of the sugar under check.

Avinash Tiwari, director-general of ISMA said that the sugar industry is trying to reduce the unconsumed stock this year to ensure that the producers are not at the loss, but simultaneously the retail prices too will not go up. “We will increase the diversion of sugar for the production of ethanol in 2021-22 to 3.4 million from two million tonnes in 2020-21. Similarly, by exporting 7.1 million tonnes in 20-21 from just 5.8 million tonnes in 19-20, we have successfully reduced the domestic stock to 7 million tonnes from 14.5 million tons, two years ago. This would help up in keeping the retail as well as the ex-mill price of the sugar constant so that retailers or the producers do not feel any pinch. There would not be a rise in the retail prices because the huge stock remains in the domestic market,” he said.

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Sunday, December 05, 2021