Disgruntled sugarcane farmers in Western UP eye Maize as ethanol demand booms

New Delhi: Farmers in western Uttar Pradesh are expressing concerns over a decline in sugarcane yields this year, attributing a 10-13 percent drop to the widely cultivated CO-0238 variety, according to thehindubusinessline.

In response, a farmer from Shamli district is planning to shift a portion of his sugarcane field to maize next year. He said that the demand for maize is increasing as ethanol producers are not able to procure the grain despite being ready to pay Rs 2,300 per quintal. Venturing into maize cultivation, he aims to produce seeds and develop a cluster to sustain the interest of ethanol companies.

While acknowledging the profitability of sugarcane, the farmer highlights the stagnant prices, prompting his decision to explore maize cultivation. He foresees the potential to double profits by growing maize seeds, adopting a strategy of cultivating maize three times a year, and reverting to sugarcane if market conditions warrant. The farmer, currently in discussions with the Indian Institute of Maize Research (IIMR), aims to assess the feasibility of transitioning from sugarcane to maize.

Addressing concerns over the CO-0238 variety, breeder Bakshi Ram attributes the lower productivity to adverse weather conditions in April-May 2023. He dismisses claims that the variety is responsible, stating that areas where CO-0238 is grown, aside from western UP, Have not experienced similar issues. The impact of unseasonal rain and floods in districts like Saharanpur, Shamli, Bijnor, and Muzaffarnagar is also noted.

Western UP contributes 40-45 percent of the state’s sugar production, while the remaining share comes from central and eastern regions. Despite concerns raised by farmers, the All India Sugar Trade Association projects a 9.3 percent increase in sugar production in Uttar Pradesh, reaching 11.7 million tonnes this season. The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) reports an uptick in sugar output in Uttar Pradesh, with industry officials downplaying concerns about the impact on overall production of sugarcane availability.

Notwithstanding lower yields in western UP due to prolonged fog conditions, industry officials anticipate a rebound in productivity with improved sunshine. A senior official from a sugar mill emphasizes the positive aspect of higher recovery rates, particularly in western UP, contributing to a 0.3 percent increase from the previous year. As of now, Uttar Pradesh has reported a 9.9 percent recovery rate this season.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here