Lucknow, Nov 21 (IANS) Sugar production in Uttar Pradesh is expected to rise to over 60 lakh tonnes this year, a 20 percent increase over last year, an official said Sunday.
Enthused by the timely commencement of crushing in a number of sugar mills across the sugarcane-rich western parts of the state, Sugarcane Commissioner Kamran Rizvi was quite optimistic of increased production.
‘This time we are looking at a sugar production of about 62 lakh tonnes, which would be way ahead of last year’s production of just 51 lakh tonnes,’ Rizvi told IANS.
The rise is attributed to an increase in the sugarcane crop area, that had dropped substantially between 2006 and 2008, following persistent litigation between farmers and sugar mill owners over the sugarcane price.
‘After an all time high sugar production in 2006-2007, when 35 new sugar mills were added to the state, the consequential fall in the sugar price led mill owners to challenge the enhanced sugarcane support price fixed by the state government,’ Rizvi said, adding the issue was still before the apex court.
‘Angered by the move, many farmers chose to switch over from sugarcane to other cash crops, leading to a sharp fall in the sugarcane cultivation area and thereby bringing down sugar production from an all-time high of 86 lakh tonnes in 2007 to a substantially low 51 lakh tonnes in 2009.’
The increase in the sugarcane cultivation area has also raised hopes that sugarmills in both western and eastern Uttar Pradesh would register an appreciable rise in the number of crushing days.
‘As against an optimum crushing season of 180 days in western Uttar Pradesh and 160 days in eastern Uttar Pradesh, this stood respectively reduced to 120 and 90 days. However with the increase in the crop area, we are now quite confident that crushing would go up in western Uttar Pradesh to nearly 140 days and about 110 days in eastern Uttar Pradesh,’ Rizvi said.
He said crushing had commenced in a few mills of western Uttar Pradesh Oct 23, while in a large number of mills, it started during the second week of November.
According to him, each of the 128 sugarmills in the state would become functional with effect from the first week of December.