MUMBAI: The sugar industry in the state is reeling under huge losses and this year, the losses may increase further as the availability of sugarcane has gone down due to the drought and excess rainfall. The main cause is due to setting up of cattle shelters in Marathwada, the cultivators supplied sugarcane for the animals, hence, sugar cane is not available in the region. As a result, 33 factories have not applied for crushing this year. The crushing period also will be reduced to 60 or 80 days from 120 days.
The government has decided to start the crushing season from November 22 this year. The decision was taken in a meeting with Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad, Chairman of State Sakhar Mahasangh Jaykumar Dandegaonkar and officials from co-operative department at Raj Bhavan.
This year, there was an acute drought in Marathwada region and many cattle shelters were started in the region. According to the animal husbandry department, 1,400 cattle shelters were started in Marathwada, where many sugar cane growing farmers supplied sugar cane to the shelters.
In these shelters, the farmers was getting Rs 3,000 per tonne, whereas in sugar factories, they get maximum Rs 2,250 to Rs 2,750.
In western Maharashtra, there was excess rain and the sugar cane crop was washed out. “Due to this, this year, less than 50 per cent (pc) cane will available for crushing compared to last year,” said Shekhar Gaikwad.
“Last year, 195 sugar factories had applied for crushing, but this year, only 162 have come forward for crushing and applied to the State government,” said Gaikwad.
Last year, 952 lakh metric tones of cane was crushed. However, this year, 518 lakh tonnes of sugar cane will be available. “This year, the distribution of FRP is 90 pc, which is highest ever,” said Gaikwad.