Coronavirus may impact upcoming sugarcane crushing season

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Mumbai: The Coronavirus pandemic may impact upcoming crushing season if migrant workers refuse to travel for the cane cutting. The season will commence in October and the sugar industry in India is not mechanized, however, relying on migrant workers to travel throughout the nation to cut cane.

The Coronavirus has limited the movement of people from one place to others. Due to which industries are facing the difficulty of getting labourers. Sugar mills in the producing states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat rely on seasonally migrating labour to harvest sugarcane. However, some sugar mills placed orders for harvesting machines.

According to ISMA, Maharashtra’s net cane area has gone up by about 43% in 2020-21 SS, which is mainly due to above normal SW and NE monsoon in 2019, followed by normal rainfall from January to March’ 2020. As against the net cane area of 7.76 lakh ha. in 2019-20 SS, area is expected to increase to 11.12 lakh ha in 2020-21. It is noteworthy that during the current 2019-20 SS around 0.5 lakh ha cane area was completely lost due to floods in July- August 2019. Sugar production is, therefore, estimated to be around 101.34 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 SS, as against 61.61 lakh tonnes produced in 2019-20 SS, i.e. higher by about 39.73 lakh tonnes.

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