ALSO READUP sugar mills saddled with Rs 1,130-cr farmers' arrears Sugar mills worried over hike in fair and remunerative price of sugarcane Uttar Pradesh shows the sweet side of sugarcane Sugar output may rise 25% in 2017-18 season Profitability of sugar mills in south India to remain under pressure
Uttar Pradesh's sugar production is nearing a million tonnes (mt) in the ongoing crushing season. The state is the country's top sugar producer and is targeting output of almost 11 mt, a fifth higher than last year. According to official data, the state's mills had collectively crushed nearly 11 mt of cane so far, producing a shade less than one mt of sugar, at average recovery of 9.75%. In the previous crushing season, half this much sugar was produced in the same time span, sugar recovery being 9.66%. Sanjay R Bhoosreddy, the state government's cane and sugar commissioner, said about 100 mills had started crushing operations, after a directive for timely start. Early harvest of cane allows farmers to sow wheat in time and add to their profit. So far, the state's cane farmers hav4 been paid Rs 1,511 crore by mills for their crop. By the law, payment should be within 14 days of sale of crop at the mill gate. Last year, cane farmers had been paid about Rs 325 crore in the corresponding period.
Local body polls are on in UP and the government had, on October 26, hiked the State Advised Price for cane (SAP, the legal floor) by Rs 10 a quintal for the 2017-18 crushing season.With this hike, projected improved sugar recovery and higher cane sowing, the government had projected UP sugar output to touch 11 mt and total farmer payables at almost Rs 30,000 crore, compared to about Rs 25,000 a year before. Against Rs 305 a quintal for the common variety of cane a year before, the SAP for 2017-18 is now Rs 315 a quintal. For the early maturing variety, it is Rs 325 a quintal. Almost 70% of the crop is the common variety. Last season, UP's sugar output was about 8.75 mt. Sowing this season is estimated at nearly 2.3 mn hectares, up 11.2%. The state's sugarcane department had distributed 0.6 mt of high quality seed to improve productivity and sugar recovery.