Extended crushing season to lay some sweet line on output

By: | Published: May 30, 2015 12:08 AM

Cane crushing season in Maharashtra has been extended by 10 days as the sugar commissionerate sees the state meeting the cane crushing estimate of 930 lakh tonne to produce 105 lakh tonne sugar by the end of the season.

Cane crushing season in Maharashtra has been extended by 10 days as the sugar commissionerate sees the state meeting the cane crushing estimate of 930 lakh tonne to produce 105 lakh tonne sugar by the end of the season.

About 927 lakh tonne cane has been crushed so far to produce 104.7 lakh tonne sugar. Sugar Federation officials say four to five lakh tonne cane is still to be crushed. This is perhaps the longest time the crushing season has been extended. This is a record for the state. Around 178 odd mills participated in the crushing operations this season.

Even after the government had announced a R1,000-per-tonne subsidy on raw sugar exports, the GR was issued only on Friday, forcing sugar commissioner Vipin Sharma to admit it came in late. Sugar millers had been complaining that even though the government had announced the subsidy, lack of GR had led to a confusion among the mills.

Sugar sector in the state has been embroiled in controversies.

Hearing against 36 mills are in progress for maintaining more than 30% gap in fair and remunerative price (FRP) Payments. Next round is scheduled for June 3. A meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is also slated sometime next week, said Sharma, adding decisions on several pending issues are likely soon.

Payment of FRP arrears to farmers is estimated to cost around R4,200 crore to R4,300 crore and a decision is yet to be taken on the announcement of the R2,000-crore loan package announced by the state.

Sanjeev Babar, MD, Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation (MSCSFF), said around 5-6 lakh quintal has been exported and countrywide, he expects the figure to touch 1.5 lakh tonne since the directives from the government came in late.

In February, the Centre had decided to give mills a subsidy of R4,000 a tonne for exports of up to 14 lakh tonne of raw sugar, an incentive some traders said may be too little as global prices remain weak with large supplies from top producer Brazil set to flood the market soon. The subsidy given by the state is expected to be applicable for exports of 800,000 tonne raw sugar Sugar mills in the country traditionally produce whites for local consumption.

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