UP's sugarcane area to rise for 5th straight year, says minister Suresh Rana

Suresh Rana, cabinet minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), which faces state assembly polls in the first half of 2022, has claimed that sugarcane payment made by the BJP government in his state to the farmers is twice as much as the earlier Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) government and 1.5 times more than Samajwadi Party (SP) government.

The state added 33% more area under sugarcane and expects to increase it further during 2021-22, while the central government has been struggling to reduce subsidies and other financial assistance extended to the sector to deal with the problem of excess sugarcane production in the country.

With the 2020-21 sugarcane crushing season at its fag end in Uttar Pradesh, Rana said for the first time ever, there are no sugarcane payment dues for the previous year’s cane payment. “When we formed the government in 2017, the first challenge in front of us was to clear cane dues of Rs 10,661 crore of the previous five years. Thus, including the previous dues, we have paid Rs 1,36,518 crore during the past four years,” said Rana, while addressing a virtual press conference.

As on June 2, UP’s sugar mills have paid Rs 21,228.62 crore to the cane farmers for the ongoing 2020-21 crushing season.

“During 2012-17, 11 mills were closed in the state. After 2017, we have not closed any sugar mill, while three new mills have been started and 11 mills have been upgraded. We have also re-started 8 distilleries which were closed,” Rana said.

The ethanol production in UP increased from 42.70 crore litre in 2016-17 to 99.31 crore litre as the state’s sugar mills have taken advantage of converting B-heavy molasses into ethanol, which attracts higher prices. “267 new khandsari units are being set up in the state, which made an alternative market available to the farmers. We have invested Rs 280 crore to help set up new khandsari units, of which 176 units have already started working,” he said.

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Rana said area cultivated under sugarcane in UP has increased
from 20.54 lakh hectare in 2016-17 to 27.40 lakh hectare at present. The yield per hectare also increased during this period from 72 tonnes per hectare in 2016-17 to 81 tonnes per hectare today. The state expects further increase in area under sugarcane during 2021-22 season.

“Interest of cane farmers, especially the small farmers, has been continuously increasing in cultivating sugarcane crops in the state. However, the production and area under sugarcane will increase next year as farmers are happy with the simplification of administrative processes, and (the government) tamed the harassment of ‘ganna mafia’ by bringing transparency in the systems of cane delivery to the factories and timely payment of their dues,” said Rana.

The minister informed that of the 119 sugar mills from the state, 90 sugar mills have cleared 90% of their cane dues in the state. “However, some sugar mills like Bajaj Hindustan Sugar, Simbhaoli Sugar and the Modi group have still been lagging in their cane payment and we will take the necessary legal action against them,” he said.



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