“The area planted under sugar cane for the 2021-22 sugar season has increased to 12.32 lakh hectare, while the per hectare production of sugarcane is expected to be 97 tonnes. We expect that 193 sugar mills will be operational next season, which will crush 1096 lakh tonne sugarcane,” said a release issued by the government.
According to the state’s sugar commissionerate, Maharashtra had produced 106.4 lakh tonnes of sugar in 2020-21 sugar season by crushing 1013 lakh tonnes of sugarcane. Maharashtra produces 206 crore litre ethanol. 112 sugar mills from the state have set up ethanol manufacturing plants.
The committee directed the sugar commissionerate, which controls the sugar industry of the state, to not issue the crushing licenses to those sugar mills that have not paid 1005 dues of the farmers. “Only 146 sugar mills have paid 100% fair and remunerative price (FRP) of the farmers. The farmers should take a call about whether they want to continue selling sugarcane to mills that do not pay FRP on time,” the committee decided, directing the officials to release guiding principles in this regard.
Though the government has allowed the mills to start production of new season’s sugar from October 15, it is the withdrawal of the monsoon that influences the date of starting crushing operations as the fields have to dry up for the labour to cut the cane. “If the withdrawal of the monsoon gets delayed, then most of the sugar mills may begin crushing operations after Diwali,” said Abhijit Ghorpade, a sugar broker from Maharashtra.