Agri Business

Maharashtra to see shorter sugar season due to low acreage, floods

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on December 24, 2019 Published on December 24, 2019

The sugar season in Maharashtra is in full swing but a majority of the sugar mills are likely to complete their operations by end of January 2020 due to lower acreage, diversion of cane for fodder and crops loss due to floods.

Usually, sugar season in Maharashtra commence after Diwali and continues till the end of March. But this sugar season (2019-20) is curtailed by about 60 days as the acreage has shrunk to about 8.22 lakh hectares while last season it was 11.62 lakh hectares. 

Sugar Commissioner of Maharashtra, Shekhar Gaikwad told BusinessLine that in the next 30 days about 70 per cent of the mills will complete their operations on account of lower cane availability. There has been large scale diversion of cane for animal feed, he said.

The numbers collated as on December 15 by the office of Sugar Commissioner has shown that 68 cooperative mills and 56 private mills were active in the State. The mills crushed 81.81 lakh tonnes of sugarcane and 76.63 lakh quintals of sugar was produced with a recovery rate of 9.37 per cent. 

Farm expert Raoshaheb Pujari from Kolhapur said that the State before the onset of monsoon season was facing drinking water problems and shortage of animal fodder. Framers sold their cane to fodder contractors for better rates. Farm animals also prefer cane due to its sweet taste. Once the cane is cut the farmers are free to use the land for other crops, he said. 

Pujari added that in the region around Kolhapur most of the mills will close by January. However, a handful of cooperative sugar mills such as Shree Dutta located at Shirol in Kolhapur will continue its operations till March as they have over 45,000 member farmers and large area under cane cultivation. Shree Dutta gets sugarcane from Karnataka also.

Published on December 24, 2019
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