The bittersweet problems of the sugar industry

Sugar is essential commodity and in India it is a lot politically sensitive. The industry has been subject to a number of controls and regulations. SP Singh in his research, ‘Assessing Efficiency Trends in the Indian Sugar Industry‘, stipulate that, “such controls and regulations, including the setting of State Recommended Prices (SAP) for sugar cane above the centrally determined Fair and Remunerative Price (PRF) would have a negative impact on the economy of the country. ‘industry.”

The government had formed several committees to eliminate bottlenecks in the industry and give it an overall boost. Singh in his article says:the government accepted some of their recommendations and the industry was taken out of license in 1998 and then partially de-controlled.”

However, it was noted that the industry continues to have a number of regulations including sugar cane pricing; controlling the supply of sugar cane and sugar by-products such as molasses. According to the Journal of Economics and Finance, ‘Impact of Government Policy on Import and Export of Sugar from India” (2014), “government control covers all aspects of the sugar business – licenses, capacity, cane acreage, supply, price, distribution, imports and exports.”

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And water is another major problem. Sugarcane requires a lot of water. According to Czarnikowsugar cane requires between 1,500 mm and 2,500 mm of annual rainfall with a growing season between a minimum of 9 months and 18 months for a newly planted crop. Furthermore, the development of sugar cane is very sensitive to water. “Lack of water in the early growth phase can stunt development and prove to be seriously detrimental to yield, while rainfall in the final ripening phase results in lower sucrose recovery.

Another question to raise is the production cost. The ‘7and International Conference on Science, Technology and Management – Challenges Facing Sugarcane Mills and Farmers in India‘ in 2017 pointed out that “the high cost of sugarcane, inefficient technology, uneconomical production process and heavy exercise loads lead to high manufacturing costs. The cost of producing sugar in India is one of the highest in the world.

The conference suggested that intense research was needed to increase sugar cane production. “Introducing new production efficiency technology in sugar mills. Production costs can also be reduced through proper use of by-products in industry, such as bagasse can be used for making paper pulp, insulation board, plastic and carbon cortex, etc. .

In the field, the sugar cane planters are troubled by lack of funding and technical advice. Due to lack of funding, they are not able to buy fertilizers and pesticides and labor to harvest the cane. They cannot water the fields. The government and the millers should take care of the plight of the farmers. They should consider capital-intensive techniques and provide timely subsidies. Farmers should be given mechanical assistance such as tractors and a plow to prepare the fields for the season. The Department of Agriculture should hold monthly workshops to train farmers in relevant farming techniques, skills and best practices.

India’s sugar cane industry is the second largest food processing industry in the world. Sugarcane is planted in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Goa and Kerala.


The bittersweet problems of the sugar industry

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The bittersweet problems of the sugar industry

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In the field, sugar cane producers are troubled by the lack of funding and technical support. Due to lack of funding, they are not able to buy fertilizers and pesticides and labor to harvest the cane.


Nandika Chand (nandikachand)

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political times

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Rachel J. Bradford