Lucknow, Apr 2: Despite sugarcane becoming sweeter and sweeter for the Uttar Pradesh cane growers owing to the state government's new promotional policy, experts feel there is still a lot of potential left in the sector.
Following the UP government's endeavour to set up new sugarmills and enhance crushing capacity of the existing units, cane growers are set to rake in hiked profits in coming years.
While the western districts of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Bulandshahr, Moradabad, Bijnore, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Rampur and Bareilly have already exhausted their crushing capacity in various mills, the central and eastern UP regions are sensing new spurt in profits.
UP government in the recent past had launched a new policy to bolster sugar production by increasing the sugarcane crushing capacity. The establishing of new sugarmills is part of the scheme.
In spite of the rosy picture being painted, agricultarists and cane experts opine that the growers are yet to make use of the latest technique in sugarcane farming.
According to UP Cane Research Council scientists at Shahjahanpur, compared to 60 MT per hectare of cane production and 9.5 per cent of sugar yield, the new varieties are capable of producing 80 to 100 MT per hectare of sugarcane with 10 to 12 per cent of sugar yield.
They suggested the farmers to get rid of traditional farming and adopt latest scientific techniques coupled with use of new varities of sugarcane in place of old varieties.
In any case, the sugarcane price and demand is already on the rise in UP. The 114 sugarmills had crushed 408.79 lakh MT of cane and produced 37.19 lakh MT of sugar till last month -- an impresive increase of 48.70 lakh MT and 3 lakh MT respectively since last season, official figures said.
Nine new sugarmills, all in private sector, have been commissioned this year. These mills are set up in Bijnore (three), Muzaffarnagar (two), Meerut, Bulandshahr, Ambedkarnagar and Bahraich (one each).
Out of 18 new sugarmills under construction some are likely to start production by next year.
The current crushing season saw capacity of the mills soaring to 5.77 lakh MT compared to 4.21 lakh MT last season.
Addressing a news conference here yesterday, UP Development Council (UPDC) chairperson Amar Singh had claimed there were 24 sugarmills in UP with accumulated losses of Rs 1,000 crore.
''The only way to facilitate a turnaround for these units is privatisation,'' he maintained.