After a gap of five-years, Maharashtra has overtaken Uttar Pradesh to regain its position as India’s top sugar producer.
The state’s output for the 2021-22 crushing year (October-September) is expected at 138 lakh tonnes (lt). That is an all-time-high, beating the previous 107.21 lt of 2018-19.
How did it become possible?
This record production is attributed to three factors.
- The first is the bountiful rainfall since the 2019 southwest monsoon.
- The second is higher yields from farmers taking extra care of their crop.
- The third factor is a huge jump in “unregistered” cane cultivation. The large “unregistered” area has meant that there is un-harvested cane still in the fields and mills will continue to crush till the first week of June.
Production of sugar –
- It is a tropical as well as sub-tropical crop.
- Sugarcane in North India is of the sub-tropical variety and has low sugar content. Also sugar factories have to remain shut in winter seasons in North India. Also, sugarcane juice begins to dry up because of the long dry season in north India.
- Sugarcane in South India is of the tropical variety and high sugar content and high yield.
- It grows well in hot and humid climate with a temperature of 21°C to 27°C and an annual rainfall of 75-100cm.
- Medium and heavy soils where irrigation facilities are available are ideal for its cultivation.
- It can be grown on a variety of soils and needs manual labour from the time of sowing to harvesting.
- It is a long maturing crop planted between February and April. Harvesting begins in October and November.
- It is a soil-exhausting crop and thus needs regular application of manure or fertilisers.
Distribution of sugar production in India –
- India is considered the original homeland of sugarcane and has the largest area under sugarcane in the world.
- India is the second largest producer (and largest consumer) of sugarcane only after Brazil.
- Uttar Pradesh – It is the leading producer of sugar in India and one of the largest sugar industries in the Indian economy.
- Sugar industry is broadly distributed over two major areas of production – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab in the north and Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the south. South India has tropical climate which is suitable for higher sucrose content giving higher yield per unit area as compared to north India.
- Tamil Nadu – This state is responsible for 10% of the total sugar production in India.
- Andhra Pradesh – Along with Sugar Production it is regarded as the ‘granary of the south’ and once it was called as ‘Rice Bowl of India’.