Mumbai: The sugarcane crushing season for 2019-20 would begin from November 22, governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said on Tuesday after holding a meeting with the sugar commissioner and MSC Bank administrator at Raj Bhavan.
An official claimed that sugar production has declined this year due to drought in Marathwada. In 2019, sugarcane production stood at 518 lakh MT, while the figure stood at 952 lakh MT in 2018. The actual sugar production, too, has reduced close to 50 per cent in 2019.
Sources said that the sugar commissioner’s office had, however, proposed that the crushing season start from November 25.
An official said that sugarcane cultivation was carried out on 11.62 hectare land in Maharashtra in 2018, while it was carried out on 8.22 lakh hectare land this year.
One of the reasons cited for the decline in the production was the reduction in land area where sugarcane was cultivated, owing to the water crises in the Marathwada and Solapur districts.
Another reason cited was sugarcane being sold as fodder at fodder camps before the harvesting, resulting in lesser output.
Shekhar Gaikwad, commissioner of sugar, Maharashtra state, said, “The fair and remunerative price (FRP) is `2,200 per quintal of sugarcane in the Marathwada region. But the per quintal fodder was sold at `3,500. The farmers have found the price lucrative enough to sell sugarcane as fodder.”
Mr Gaikwad added, “Decline in production will not hamper sugar in the state, as we have a stock of 70 lakh MT and the consumption of sugar annually is 35 lakh MT.”