40% drop likely in sugar production
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With drought and use of sugarcane as fodder, the state is likely to face a 40-per cent drop in sugar production in the coming crushing season and efforts are on to ensure that it does not lead to a crisis.
Senior ministers met on Wednesday after the state Cabinet meeting to discuss details of the crushing season and steps to be taken to deal with the situation. The government will be meeting sugar cooperative leaders on Thursday to decide on these steps.
Officials said the state produces 80 lakh tonnes of sugar on an average a year, nearly one-third of the national sugarcane output. Current estimates indicate that the sugar produced this year would be 40 per cent less than the average — 50 lakh tonnes.
Minister for Co-operatives Harshvardhan Patil said the primary reason for drop was drought and use of sugarcane as fodder by farmers. "The planning for the coming year would be done tomorrow during the meeting with cooperatives. A decision will be taken on when to start crushing, prices, policy on export and molasses."
He said 30 lakh tonnes of sugar was available now. There is an annual demand of 250 tonnes, of which the state needs 60 lakh tonnes. The final estimate on sugarcane availability will be taken in August end.
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