Agriculture Industry

More mills apply for sugarcane crushing licence this season in Maharashtra

09 November 2022, New Delhi: The 2022-23 sugarcane crushing season (October-November) is set to see a record number of mills in operation in Maharashtra. As many as 215 mills have applied for crushing licences, up from 205 the previous season, according to the Sugar commissioner’s office.

The sugar commissioner’s office has issued 165 crushing licences this season, of which 84 are for cooperative mills while the rest private. While the season started officially from the start of October, mills became operational only from the first week of November.

The 215 mills include 16 which were closed last season or have applied for fresh licences this season. Ten of these mills are cooperative while the rest are private. Most of the cooperative mills have been taken on lease by private players to operationalise them for this season. Ample availability of water has seen farmers increase their cane acreage in Ahmednagar, Solapur and Aurangabad regions.

Till Monday, 93 mills have become operational, of which 47 are private while 46 are cooperative. Heavy rains have led to mills delaying their operations.

While licences are issued or denied depending on compliance, whether all these mills would become operational remains to be seen. Issues like financial viability and preparedness play an important role in the final decision of being operational.

Some mills have reported a lower presence of labourers, who either decided to stay back in their districts to tend to their rabi crop or preferred to work in mills in their areas.

Another cause of concern is the lower per-hectare yields in the early days of crushing. While Maharashtra is expected to produce 137 lakh tonnes of sugar this season, lower yields have put a question mark on the final production. This season would get over by April end as against the previous estimates of mid-May, according to sources.

The sugar commissioner’s office issues licences for crushing without which mills are not expected to start their operation. Unlicensed crushing can result in a heavy financial penalty to the tune of Rs 500/tonne of cane crushed. Sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad has refused to issue licences to mills which failed to clear their payment for the previous season.

Also Read: Agriculture and the agricultural economy is the strength of India: Union Agriculture Minister

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