Maharashtra emerges as number one sugar producer this season, pushing UP down

Maharashtra is looking at record sugar production in the 2021-22 season, leaving its closest competitor Uttar Pradesh far behind, Financial Express reports. A total of 197 mills in Maharashtra have crushed 1072.58 lakh tonnes of cane to produce 111.16 lakh tonnes of sugar. Uttar Pradesh has reported production of 78 lakh tonnes of sugar so far this season. It is estimated that UP will have 10% less output of sugar this season.

Maharashtra sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said total production in the state is likely to touch 125 lakh tonnes by the end of the season, the highest till date. The state had previously reported its highest production in the 2018-19 season at 107 lakh tonnes. Maharashtra has already diverted 12-15 lakh tonnes of sugar towards ethanol production.

Gaikwad said the current season is likely to stretch over 160-180 days and may continue till the end of May or beginning of June in some regions. Normally, crushing is completed within 120 days. State cooperation minister Balasaheb Patil told the legislative assembly recently that there is a sugarcane glut in Beed, Jalna, Parbhani, and Satara districts. Experts attributed this to rise in per hectare production, which has crossed 125 tonnes per acre this season.

Till date, 19 mills have stopped crushing operations for the season. Mills in Kolhapur and Sangli are expected to finish their season by March-end, while those in Pune and Satara are likely to do so by the end of April. However, mills in Marathwada, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Nashik are expected to continue their operations till the end of May.  

Area under sugarcane in the state for the 2021-22 season has increased to 12.32 lakh hectare from 11.42 lakh hectare in the previous season. Exports this season are also higher, with deals struck for 58 lakh tonnes by sugar mills across the country so far. Exports are likely to touch 75 lakh tonnes this season as against 60 lakh tonnes in the 2020-21 season.

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