Sugar Industry in India

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After Brazil, India is the largest sugar producer globally, and it leads in sugarcane production. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that 124 countries produce sugar. However, if alternative sweeteners such as khandsari (sort of raw sugar) and gur (jaggery) are included in the fold, India would be the most significant overall sugar producer. Brazil accounts for 42.05 million metric tonnes of global sugar production, and India contributes 33.76 million.

In all, approximately Rs. 1,250 crore is invested in this industry, and it also provides a livelihood for close to 2.86 lakh workers and supports 50 million farmers and their families, offering direct employment to 0.6 million skilled and semi-skilled persons in sugar and its associated industries.

The industry also benefits the nearly 2.5 crore people who grow sugarcane in India. In India, the primary sugar-producing states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

As may be seen from the list above, sugar production is practised all across India. However, the peninsular region has been a better performer than the north Indian states, and there has also been a gradual shift from north to south for the sugar industry. One of the primary reasons is the better conditions available for cultivation in the peninsular part. The sugar industry in India is also highly localized, owing to problems in transporting sugarcane.

Types of Sugar Industry in India

The sugar industry is divided into two sectors, including organized and unorganized sectors. Sugar factories belong to the organized sector, and those who produce traditional sweeteners fall into the unorganized sector. Gur and khandsari are the traditional forms of sweeteners.

Manufacturing Process of Sugar in India

Several steps are usually followed to produce sugar. These steps are mentioned as below:
  • Extracting juice by pressing sugarcane
  • Boiling the juice to obtain crystals
  • Creating raw sugar by spinning crystals in extractors
  • Taking raw sugar to a refinery for the process of filtering and washing to discard remaining non- sugar elements and hue
  • Crystallizing and drying sugar
  • Packaging the ready sugar

Sugar Production in India

In the 2014-15 crushing season, the sugar production of India has seen an increase of 11.5%. The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) says that as of 31st March, India had produced 24.72 million tonnes of sugar. This was an addition of 2.84 million tonnes to the sugar production of 2013-14. It is estimated that in the 2015-16 season, 24.8 million tonnes of sugar will be consumed. ISMA forecasts that due to the increased production in the year gone There will be a carryover stock of 8.5 million tonnes. There will be 2.5 million tonnes more than what is thought to be the standard requirement in these cases.

According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), the opening stock at the start of the 2021-22 sugar season from October is anticipated to be nearly 8.7 million tonnes, the lowest in the last four years.

Maharashtra is traditionally the leader when it comes to sugar production in India. Before Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, was the leader. There are several reasons why Maharashtra occupies this place in the pantheon of Indian states that produce sugar. The state has a longer crushing period than other states, and its recovery rate is also significantly higher.

ISMA said that the sugar production in Uttar Pradesh is anticipated to be 11.9 million tonnes in 21-22, while in Maharashtra, production could reach 12.1 million tonnes, Karnataka is expected to contribute to a production of 4.87 million tonnes. In comparison, other states are expected to contribute 5.46 million tonnes to the overall sugar production in the country.

Overall, nearly 5.45 million hectares of land have been brought under sugarcane this year from across the country, which is 3% above the current sugar season.

In Maharashtra, the area under sugarcane was around 11% last year, while in UP, it has increased marginally by 0.21%. In Karnataka, nearly 4.19% more area has been brought under sugarcane in 21-22 regarding the 2020-21 season.

Import and Export of Indian Sugar Industry

The Indian government has a rather strict policy when it comes to the import of sugar. During 2014, It raised the import duty from 15% to 40% to discourage this side of the sugar trade and promote exports. Thanks to the increased import duty, refiners find it rather hard – economically unfeasible to be precise – to bring in sugar, especially from countries such as Brazil, Pakistan and Thailand.

The All India Sugar Trade Association (AISTA) stated that mills had exported 2.49 million tonnes of the sweetener so far in the 2020-21 marketing year ending September, with several shipments to Indonesia.

Indian Sugar Industry Consumption

Consumption of sugar and related sweeteners in India has increased in the last few years. One of the primary reasons for the increasing demand for sugar is the growing population of India and improving economic conditions. The majority of the sugar consumers that are produced directly by mills are bakeries, local sweets, and candy manufacturers. Together with the soft drink makers, they comprise almost 60% of the clientele. The primary consumers of khandsari are locally operating sweets establishments. Gur is also used in the rural areas in its Standard form as a sweetener as well as feed. Biscuit manufacturers, food products companies, pharmaceutical setups, hotels, and restaurants also consume fair quantities of sugar.

Indian Sugar Industry Consumption – Impact on Indian Economy

As has been said already, almost 2.6 lakh people are directly dependent on the sugar industry for their livelihood. Sugar industry is an agricultural industry that still provides the maximum amount of employment in India. The sugar industry in India also happens to be the second biggest agro-based economic activity – a fact that goes on to show how important it is to sustain the national economy.

The data provided by the ICAR- Sugarcane Breeding Institute exhibits that the total consumption of sugar in India was 21.13 lakh tonnes in 1960-61, which rose to 254.50 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 as per the latest trends.

OECD-FAO’s Agricultural Outlook, 2019-2029, expects increases in worldwide sugar consumption over the next 10 years exclusively from the developing countries. In Asia, India, followed by Indonesia, China, and Pakistan, will go through the most significant increases in sugar.

Last Updated on August 3, 2021