Sugar mills directed to clear cane dues before next crushing season

| | Lucknow
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Sugar mills directed to clear cane dues before next crushing season

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 | PNS | Lucknow

The next sugar season 2024-25 is likely to commence with a clean slate as the Uttar Pradesh government has directed the industry to clear the dues of the farmers before the next cane crushing season.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the sugar industry to settle all outstanding payments of the previous season before the commencement of the new sugarcane crushing season. Chief Minister Yogi stressed that sugarcane should be made available only to sugar mills with a good payment record.

The issue of sugarcane payment in Uttar Pradesh remained a focal point during the Lok Sabha elections. Farmers’ organisations staged several demonstrations demanding the settlement of due sugarcane payments. Concurrently, the Sugarcane department is working to expedite the payment of pending dues to farmers.

The last season 2024-25 was a good year for the sugar industry as the sugar recovery in the state surpassed the previous season. During the season, a recovery rate of 10.30 per cent was recorded, compared to 9.40 per cent during the previous 2022-23 season. The estimated sugar production in last season in Uttar Pradesh was over 1.15 crore MT.

The sugar industry has so far paid over Rs 35,000 crore for 2023-24 crushing season. According to sugarcane department data, the payment, made by the sugar mills, represent more than close to 90 per cent of the total cane supply payables for the season.

Besides, the ethanol production in UP that stood at nearly 421 million litres in 2016-17, rose to 1.54 billion litres in 2022-23. By March 2023-24, the production shot past the 1.75 billion litre-mark. Ethanol, which is used in petrol blending, is an important byproduct of sugar.

The 121 operating mills in UP, with a combined cane crushing capacity of 0.84 million tonnes (MT) per day, have so far crushed 98 MT of the cash crop, producing 10.33 MT of sugar.

For the previous crushing season 2022-23, except for a private sugar mill unit defaulting on the farmers’ payment of Rs 213 crore, the remaining chunk of Rs 37,838 crore was fully paid. Last year, UP logged a sugar production of 1.05 crore MT.

“The sugarcane payments facilitated during the Yogi Adityanath government since March 2017 is to the tune of Rs 2.5 lakh crore and counting. Interestingly, this is roughly Rs 36,600 crore more than the consolidated cane payments made in the preceding 22 years, that is from 1995 to March 2017,” a government official said.

Of the 121 sugar mills in UP, private companies account for the maximum number, nearly 93 units, followed by 28 mills of the cooperatives as well as the Uttar Pradesh State Sugar Corporation (UPSSC).

Nearly 50 lakh rural households are engaged in sugarcane farming in UP, which generates an estimated annual economy of Rs 50,000 crore.  In January 2024, the state government hiked the cane price by Rs 20 per quintal for various cane varieties. In the 2022-23 sugarcane crushing season, cane area and production in the state stood at 20.85 lakh hectares and 2.35 crore MT respectively.

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