Aurangabad, Aug.13 (ANI): Sugar mills in Maharashtra's Marathwada region are on the verge of closure following a shortfall in sugarcane production.
Farmers blame the sharp downfall on scanty rainfall and low procurement prices.
Farmers have planted less sugarcane for the second successive year due to these factors.
The Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje Sakher Sugar Mill in the Adul area of Aurangabad district continues to remain closed for the last one year. And this year too, the management is unsure if the mill will reopen.
"The sugarcane output has reduced and it has led to the closure of many factories. They closed down last year. They will be closed this year too. The sugarcane yield will not be enough to meet the demand in India," said Haribhao Kishanrao Bagre, owner of the Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje Sakher Sugar Mill, Adul,
Last year, 34 out of 57 sugar mills in the Marathwada region could continue their operation due to insufficient sugarcane produce. This year, the number might fall further.
"According to me, only 15 odd factories will continue operating while the rest will remain closed because of sugarcane shortage," said Haribhao Kishanrao Bagre, the owner of the Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje Sakher Sugar Mill in the Adul area.
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar last month said the country is expected to produce 15.0-15.5 million tonnes of sugar in the year till September, which is down from 26.3 million tonnes a year ago.
To maintain the supply of sugar and help control price and black marketing, India has contracted imports for about 2.5 million tonnes of raw sugar this year. Traders expect the country to buy another three million tonnes in 2009-10.
India has extended its scheme to allow duty-free raw sugar imports until March and white sugar imports up to November. By Abdul Hadi(ANI)