Pune: Sugar mills in Maharashtra have officially kick-started sugarcane crushing season after they got permission from state Governor BS Koshyari in the absence of a functional state government.
Koshyari officially permitted mills to start the season on November 22. But sugar mills are commencing cane crushing at a very snail pace. Speaking with ChiniMandi News, Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said, “In sugar season 2019-2020, 162 mills had applied for crushing license. Till date, 125 crushing licences have been issued. And 15 sugar mills have started their crushing operations.”
A total of 195 sugar mills participated in sugar season 2018-2019 and produced 107.19 lakh tonnes of sugar at a recovery rate of 11.26 per cent by crushing 951.79 lakh tonnes of sugarcane.
In this season, sugar production in Maharashtra is likely to decline as the state had been impacted by flood and drought. Flood in Pune, Sangli, Satara, Solapur and Kolhapur districts, the sugar belt of Maharashtra, have majorly hit the sugarcane crops. Also, farmers have uprooted sugarcane in the severely drought-affected regions of the state to feed their animals as other green fodders were not available. These factors will ultimately be going to impact sugarcane production in the state.
Most of the sugar mills in Kolhapur and Sangli region are yet to start crushing operations as farmers organisation Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana (SSS) warned them not to begin cane crushing till the final decision on cane pricing comes. SSS is firm on its demand of payment of a fair and remunerative price (FRP) in one instalment plus Rs 200 on per tonne of sugarcane, but sugar mills claim it is difficult to fulfil the same as the industry is suffering from sugar surplus and financial scarcity.
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