As Maharashtra’s 2020-21 sugar season came to an end, the state has produced 106.3 lakh tonnes of sugar after crushing 1,012 lakh tonnes of cane during the season. The state’s sugar recovery was a hefty 10.50 per cent, officials of the Maharashtra Sugar Commissionerate said to Financial Express.
Around 190 sugar mills, including 95 cooperative and 95 private mills, participated in the crushing season, operating for an average of 140 days. The state had produced a record 107 lakh tonnes of sugar in the 2018-19 season.
Sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said sugarcane was cultivated on 11.42 lakh hectares for the 2020-21 season, compared to 8.22 lakh hectares in 2019-20. The planting area for the 2021-22 season is yet to be assessed, he said. According to rough estimates, the state may see cane cultivation on at least 12 lakh hectares, he said, adding that farmers are shifting from other crops to sugarcane because of guaranteed income.
Kolhapur, Ahmednagar and Pune regions accounted for more than 50 per cent of the state’s total production. Drought-prone regions of Aurangabad, Nanded, Amravati and Nagpur produced 197 lakh quintal sugar, which is 19 per cent of the total state production. A total of 53 mills had started crushing operations in these drought-prone regions.
Around 37 mills from Kolhapur crushed 231 lakh tonnes of cane to produce 277 lakh quintals of sugar with a sugar recovery rate of 12 per cent, while 31 mills from Pune crushed 231 lakh tonnes of cane and produced 253 lakh tonnes of sugar with a recovery of 10.97 per cent. This season, 43 mills from Solapur crushed 176 lakh tonnes of sugarcane to produce 165 lakh tonnes of sugar with a recovery rate of 9.38 per cent.
Gaikwad said that as of May 15, sugar mills in the state owed farmers Rs 1,458.73 crore after making fair and remunerative price (FRP) payments of Rs 21,429.35 crore. Nearly 93.63 per cent of the total FRP payments are still owed to the farmers of the state.
This year, around 10 lakh tonnes of sugar from the state was diverted towards producing ethanol. Next year’s target is to divert 15 lakh tonnes towards ethanol.