Agri Business

Cane growers in Maharashtra get cold feet due to drought

Pune | Updated on May 20, 2019 Published on May 20, 2019

Output next season may see a steep fall

The sugarcane cultivation in Maharashtra is likely to decline due to drought in 26 districts in the state. The State government is collecting the data of cane cultivation and according to sources the decline in cane cultivation will have a drastic impact on sugar production. Primary estimates show that production in the next season might be reduced to just half of this season’s output.

Notwithstanding the severe drought, 195 mills in Maharashtra have crushed 951.79 lakh mt cane to produce 1,071.94 lakh quintals of sugar. Farmers, however, have avoided cultivating cane in view of severe drought. According to government sources, cane cultivation in Marathwada will be the most affected and there would be hardly any cane for mills to start the next crushing season. Marathwada dams have just 3 per cent water and thousands of villages are dependent on water tankers. This year 47 mills crushed 167.35 lakh mt sugarcane in the Marathwada region.

Even in the sugar belt of Pune, Sangli, Satara, Solapur and Kolhapur, many farmers are unwilling to go for cane cultivation owing to water scarcity.

According to experts, production in other states will also be affected because of drought. Sugar production in India during last sugar season 2017-18 was about 322 lakh mt which is the highest production so far in the country. Production during the current sugar season 2018-19 is estimated to be about 315 lakh mt which is almost of the same level of the previous season. As of now, India is the second largest producer of sugar in the world.

The normal area (average of latest five years) under sugarcane cultivation in the country is 48.84 lakh hectares. During 2015-16, area under sugarcane was estimated above the normal area coverage at 49.27 lakh hectares. The area under sugarcane declined to 44.36 lakh hectares during 2016-17 due to lesser area coverage in Maharashtra and then increased to 47.32 lakh hectares during 2017-18.

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Published on May 20, 2019
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