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Where the Indian Sugar Industry is looking for bailouts from the crisis of excessive stocks, high production costs, cane arrears, etc. through various measures like exports and diversification of sugarcane to ethanol, on the other hand, there are some veterans who anticipate bringing in innovations, technologies, better processes and making the industry progress.
The green belt of Maharashtra, which has continuously been a top-notch producer in sugarcane plantation is now on the threshold of sugar from sugar beet.
Mr. Sharad Pawar has always been at the forefront to bring various improvements and steep revolutionary changes for the Sugar Industry. Under his prudent guidance and vision that farmers and millers and would benefit from the implementation of sugar beet cultivation various deliberations have been going taking place to examine how successful this experiment would roll out in Maharashtra. Mr. Sharad Pawar along with a few stalwarts of the industry from Maharashtra had been on an educational and research visit to Europe in December 2018 and thereafter they have continuously been implementing various research-based techniques and practices to decide the fate of sugar beet in the Maharashtra state.
Mr.Rohit Pawar, CEO, Baramati Agro and President of ISMA anticipated beginning trials at his diversified agro-based group of companies where he owns two sugar mills.
In a conversation with ChiniMandi.com, he said, “I am keen on promoting the methodology of cultivating beet for sugar production as it will keep both, the millers as well as the farmers in a win-win situation. Sugar beet is being characterized as a short-duration crop and also requires lesser water compared to sugarcane. The sugar beet crop would extend the crushing season by 2 to 3 months and assist in strengthening the sugar industry and would also prove to be remunerative to the farmers.
While looking at the land and soil conditions in Maharashtra, many parts of the lands have been dominated by salinity and degradations in fertility, in these parts sugar beet, can be a good option as an alternative crop which would give a better yield since sugar beet is a salt tolerant crop and can be grown in saline soils where many other crops fail to grow. Bringing this change would take time, yet would lead to better profitability to farmers.
“Cultivation of sugar beet will also help millers where capacity utilization is low, and overheads are high as they have a small season. After crushing sugarcane, the mills here can go for beet, improving their capacity utilization. The mills that anticipate utilizing beet as a feedstock with sugarcane may only need an additional diffuser, with the rest of the equipment required being the same.” he added.
Seeing the pioneering efforts of Chandigarh-based Rana Sugars Ltd, Mr.Pawar is amazed and looks forward in implementing and encouraging sugar beet cultivation in Maharashtra.