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Low Crop Arrivals Force Maharashtra Sugar Mills To Prolong Crushing Season

Updated: Feb 29, 2024 04:48:10pm

Low Crop Arrivals Force Maharashtra Sugar Mills To Prolong Crushing Season

Maharashtra, Feb 29 (KNN) The ongoing crushing season of sugar mills in Maharashtra has witnessed an extension, marked by a significant decrease in production compared to the previous year.

With concerns over water scarcity and delays in crop lifting, the challenges faced by sugarcane farmers are mounting.

Data from the Maharashtra sugar commissioner’s office reveals that the crushing season has been prolonged this year, with 884.46 lakh tonnes of sugarcane crushed, yielding 8.845 million tonnes of sugar.

This represents a decrease from the previous season's figures, indicating an extension till April end.

The shortage of sugarcane cutters has contributed to the extended season, affecting the efficiency of harvesting operations.

Unlike the previous year when 45 mills had ceased operations by this time, only eight mills have stopped crushing activities this season.

Farmers, grappling with water scarcity, are encountering difficulties in lifting crops for crushing, fearing a decline in extract rates.

Water scarcity has become increasingly severe in many regions, exacerbating concerns among farmers regarding irrigation.

Kolhapur and Pune districts report the highest extraction rates at 11.36 per cent and 10.28 per cent, respectively, while Nagpur mills lag behind with a lower rate of 5.47 per cent.

Similarly, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar mills recorded an extraction rate of 8.66 per cent.

Kolhapur leads in sugarcane crushing with forty mills processing the highest amount in the state, whereas Nagpur's four private mills record the lowest production.

Water scarcity has compelled regions like Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar and Nagpur to rely on water tankers for drinking purposes, leaving farmers struggling to irrigate their crops.

To mitigate delays, many mills have deployed harvesters, although their suitability for small farms remains a concern.

In response, communities in various districts are organising efforts to cut sugarcane, highlighting the growing frustration among farmers.

The extended crushing season of Maharashtra's sugar mills underscores the multifaceted challenges faced by farmers, ranging from labour shortages to water scarcity.

As communities rally together and mills adapt their practices, the hope remains for a resolution to alleviate the burdens faced by sugarcane farmers.

(KNN Bureau)


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