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Maharashtra: 3 weeks into crushing season, mills produce only 50% sugar

Kolhapur: Three weeks into the sugar cane crushing season, 69 mills in Maharashtra have produced only 50% of the sugar produced last season. This is due to dip in crushing by mills in the sugar cane producing districts of the state.

According to the report accessed from the Sugar Commissioner’s Office, Pune, 87 sugar factories were in operation last year during this time of the year.

These factories had crushed nearly 150 lakh tonnes of sugar cane and produced 124 lakh quintals of sugar. This year, 69sugar mills are in operation. These mills have crushed nearly 88.4 lakh tonnes of sugar cane and produced 66 lakh quintals of sugar.

Every year in Maharashtra, the sugar cane harvesting and crushing by mills starts by October 15. This year, owing to less production of sugar cane, the state government allowed cane crushing only after November 1.

The dip in sugar cane crushing and production is attributed to delayed sugar cane crushing season and increase in resistance to sugar cane harvesting by farmers’ unions from major sugar cane producing districts of Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara. This year, the cultivation of sugar cane has declined, mainly due to rain-deficient monsoon. The cultivation has declined mainly in districts other than the major sugar cane producing districts in Marathawada and north Maharashtra. There is dip of around 30% in acreage of sugar cane cultivated. The rainfall deficiency has led to loss in productivity.

In Maharashtra, Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara are lagging in sugar cane crushing and sugar production. Due to agitation by farmers unions, mainly the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana led by former MP Raju Shetti, as many as 14 sugar mills in Kolhapur district are yet to start their operation. As many as four sugar mills, each from Sangli and Satara districts, have stopped crushing owing to the recent violent agitations. Only 11,850 quintals of sugar are produced by 19 operational sugar mills from Kolhapur district.

Sugar industry experts claimed that further delay in crushing, especially in south Maharashtra districts, will hamper sugar production. “As the sugar cane crosses mature growth stage, the weight of the cane starts declining. Also, there is less sugar recovery from such sugar cane. Therefore, though the expenses remain the same, the production of sugar declines,” said Vijay Autade, a Kolhapur-based sugar industry expert.

The above news was originally posted on

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