Maharashtra’s sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said total production in the state is likely to reach 125 lakh tons by the end of the season, the highest to date.
Maharashtra is aiming for record sugar production in the 2021-2022 season, leaving its closest competitor Uttar Pradesh far behind. On Monday, 197 factories in Maharashtra crushed 1072.58 lakh tons of cane to produce 111.16 lakh tons of sugar. Uttar Pradesh has reported production of 78 lakh tons of sugar so far this season.
Maharashtra’s sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said total production in the state is likely to reach 125 lakh tons by the end of the season, the highest to date. The state previously reported its highest production in the 2018-19 season with 107 lakh tons. Maharashtra has already diverted 12-15 lakh tons of sugar into ethanol production.
Gaikwad said the current season is likely to span 160-180 days and could last until late May or early June in some regions. Normally, the crushing is completed within 120 days. State Cooperation Minister Balasaheb Patil recently told the Legislative Assembly that there is an abundance of sugar cane in Beed, Jalna, Parbhani and Satara districts. Experts attribute this to an increase in production per hectare, which has exceeded 125 tons per hectare this season.
To date, 19 mills have ceased crushing operations for the season. The plants in Kolhapur and Sangli are expected to finish their season by the end of March, while those in Pune and Satara are likely to end by the end of April. However, the factories in Marathwada, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Nashik are expected to continue operations until the end of May.
BB Thombare, president of the Western India Sugar Mills Association, said that Marathwada, usually one of the first divisions to close out the season, will continue to crush until the end of May. Sugarcane acreage has increased from 3.5 lakh hectares to nearly 5 lakh hectares in the region due to good rains and the promise of guaranteed income, Thombare said. Sugarcane acreage in the state for the 2021-22 season has increased to 12.32 lakh hectares, from 11.42 lakh hectares in the previous season.
Given the excessive sugar cane production in the Marathwada region, some factories have been asked to continue crushing even after they finish producing in their assigned areas, senior officials said. The region usually produces 10 lakh tons of sugar cane, but the grinding can reach nearly 12.5 lakh tons this time around.
Factories in the neighboring districts of Marathwada have also been asked to help. “We are trying to get the surplus produce from Jalna to Solapur. Sugar cane production has increased in Jalna, Osmanabad and Pathri in Parbhani,” said an official.
Exports are also higher this season, with deals so far for 58 lakh tons by sugar mills across the country. Exports are likely to reach 75 lakh tons this season, up from 60 lakh tons in the 2020-21 season.
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