Maha sugar output may be hit by 25-30% next season

By: | Published: August 8, 2015 12:08 AM

A recent survey conducted by the Western India Sugar Mills Association (WISMA) has revealed that while sugarcane plantation in Maharashtra...

A recent survey conducted by the Western India Sugar Mills Association (WISMA) has revealed that while sugarcane plantation in Maharashtra may remain the same in the coming season, productivity could be affected by 25-30% owing to erratic rainfall across the state.

From a bumper production of  104.5 lakh tonne in the 2014-15 sugar season, output could come down to 70-75 lakh tonne in the coming season, the survey said.

According to the preliminary estimate for 2015-16 released by Isma, the area under sugarcane in Maharashtra is likely to remain at 10.6 lakh hectare. However, yield is likely to be less due to poor rainfall. Officials at the sugar commissionerate have estimated production to come down by around 15%.

A total of 178 factories had crushed 929.5 lakh metric tonne of cane and the production had touched 104.79 lakh metric tonne in 2014-15 season. According to WISMA president BB Thombare, in the last three years there has been less than 50% rainfall in some parts of  Maharashtra such as Marathwada, Khandesh, Solapur and Ahmednagar because of which groundwater level in these regions has gone down.

Last year, an acreage of 10.5 lakh hectares resulted in a production of 930 lakh tonne of cane. As per the survey, cane is being used as fodder for cattle in Solapur and Ahmednagar among other areas. Around 30-35% of the cane is expected to be used for fodder purposes. In the coming season, around 700-750 lakh tonne of cane is likely to be available for crushing.

Senior officials, however, said that diverting cane as fodder has been the normal practice in these regions and therefore this should not affect the overall production. When contacted, sugar commissioner Vipin Sharma said that the first estimates of the season on the cane area, production and recovery would be released next month. Senior officials pointed out that the meeting on the cane estimate, which is done in association with the agriculture department officials, is yet to be held.

Recovery is likely to take a hit because of the rain situation in the state, the commissioner pointed out.

As of date, around 120 mills in the state have been issued the 50% cane dues clearance certificates from the commissionerate and the cane arrear position has gone down to R2,900 crore, he said. Two rounds of hearings have been held with sugar mills and a fresh round of hearings will be held next week so that more funds
can be mopped up, Sharma said.

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