‘Low cane output won’t affect sugar production in Uttar Pradesh’


Lucknow: The likelihood of a relatively low sugarcane yield this year would not affect sugar production in Uttar Pradesh, a government official said Saturday.

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“This year’s sugarcane yield was estimated to be 15 percent less than last year’s output of 1,100 lakh tonnes,” the sugarcane and sugar industries department official told IANS here.

“But that is unlikely to affect sugar production that could go marginally higher than last year’s count of 40.64 lakh tonnes,” he added.

Uttar Pradesh is one of the leading sugarcane producing states in the country.

The official attributed the optimism to an appreciable rise in the sugar recovery rate that stood at 8.9 percent during the last crushing season.

“While cane production got adversely affected on account of a prolonged dry spell, what came as a blessing in disguise were the delayed rains that gave better maturity of the standing sugarcane crop, thereby ensuring higher sugar recovery of about 9.5 percent during the forthcoming crushing season commencing early November,” he said.

According to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media, it were these factors that led the Sugarcane Price Advisory Committee headed by Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta to recommend an unprecedented hike of Rs.25 per quintal in the State Advised Price (SAP) of sugarcane.

“The price was far higher than the central government’s recommended Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) of Rs.107.50 per quintal,” he said.

But while the state government is talking about its “unprecedented” hike in sugarcane price, sugar mill owners as well as sugarcane growers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the official announcement.

“The state government appears to have played into the hands of the affluent sugar lobby. After all, the SAP will hardly cover the farmer’s cost input,” remarked Sudhir Kumar, president of Kisan Jagriti Manch, a body of sugarcane growers.

On the other hand, a representative of the sugar mill owners told IANS that such a “steep hike in SAP will only lead to increase in the market price of sugar that is already selling at around Rs.35 a kilogram”.