Maharashtra Re-emerges as Top Sugar Producer

Why in News?

Maharashtra has once again the top sugar producer state in India after five years. It has overtaken Uttar Pradesh in sugar production.

  • The overall production of sugar by Maharashtra accounts for 138 lakh tonnes for the year 2021-22.
  • The total sugar produced by the Uttar Pradesh in the year 2021-22 accounts for 105 lakh tonnes.

What are the Reasons for the Huge Production of Sugar in Maharashtra?

  • Abundant Supply of Water:
    • Sugarcane is a water intensive crop which needs a huge water supply which farmers from Maharashtra were getting properly through rainfallwater reservoirsnetwork of canals and from groundwater.
    • Maharashtra has been receiving more than sufficient rainwater since 2019 during the south-west monsoon season.
    • Groundwater aquifers and other reservoirs were filled by water due to sufficient rainfall. These sources of water play a key role in agricultural production.
  • Underreporting of Cane Production:
    • Data regarding actual production of the sugarcane in the state of Maharashtra was not quite accurate.
    • Keeping this in mind the concerned administration tried to make corrections in the recorded data of the sugarcane production.
      • This ultimately resulted in increased acreage under the sugarcane production from 11.42 lakh hectare to 12.4 lakh hectares.
      • Thus, Maharashtra harnessed the benefits from increased acreage under sugarcane in 2021-22.

Why did Sugar Production in Uttar Pradesh Decline?

  • Uttar Pradesh has become the largest ethanol producer because a large amount of sugarcane production in Uttar Pradesh diverted toward the production of ethanol.
    • It has been estimated that 12.60 lakh tonnes equivalent of sugar from cane have been diverted for making ethanol in the year 2021-22 compared to 7.19 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 and 4.81 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 and 0.31 lakh tonnes in 2018-19.
      • Uttar Pradesh also has achieved the highest blending of ethanol in petrol ratio among all states.
  • Excess rain with water logging problems are associated with the state of Uttar Pradesh which incurred heavy loss of sugarcane crops.
  • Majority of the land in sugarcane area in Uttar Pradesh(87%) is planted under a single variety of sugarcane (Co-0238). This variety is not a high yield variety of the sugarcane.
  • Adverse impact of red rot fungal disease on sugarcane crop is a severe cause for the decline of sugarcane production in Uttar Pradesh.
    • Co-0238 variety of the sugarcane is highly susceptible to the red rot fungal diseases.
    • It should be replaced by the new varieties, such as Co-0118 and Co-15023 because both of them are resistant to red rot fungal disease.

Sugarcane About

  • Temperature: Between 21-27°C with hot and humid climate.
  • Rainfall: Around 100-150 cm.
  • Soil Type: Deep rich loamy soil.
  • Top Sugarcane Producing States: Uttar Pradesh > Maharashtra > Karnataka > Tamil Nadu > Bihar.
  • India is the second largest producer of sugarcane after Brazil.
  • It can be grown on all varieties of soils ranging from sandy loam to clay loam given these soils should be well drained.
  • It needs manual labour from sowing to harvesting.
  • It is the main source of sugar, gur (jaggery), khandsari and molasses.
  • Scheme for Extending Financial Assistance to Sugar Undertakings (SEFASU) and National Policy on Biofuels are two of the government initiatives to support sugarcane production and sugar industry.

Ethanol Blending:

  • Ethanol: It is one of the principal biofuels, which is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration.
  • Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP): It is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil imports, cutting carbon emissions and boosting farmers’ incomes.
  • Blending Target: The Government of India has advanced the target for 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030.