IMPORTANCE OF INDIAN SUGAR INDUSTRY Sugar Industry occupies an important place among organised industries in India. Its main raw-material is sugarcane. The special thing for all kinds of the raw material is that it should contain the highest percentage of the content for which it is used as raw 16 material. But the quality of sugarcane of our country is not so good and researchers are trying to update it but due to lack of interest and proper attention from the government side, they are not succeeded yet today.
Per hectare production of the sugarcane is also not improving which is a matter of great concern. It is probably due to lack of land fertility and lack of irrigation facilities. Other countries of the world such as Cuba, Fizzy & Caribbean’s, which are very small in comparison to India, are producing much more sugarcane per hectare than India. The share of India in the total production of sugarcane in the world is 37%. But the production of sugarcane is only 15 tones per acre whereas in Java it is 56 tones and in Hawaii it is 52 tones i. . almost four times than India. The production cost of sugar is also high due to inferior quality of Indian sugarcane. Since sugar mills are running to loss so they are unable to pay the cane grower growers timely. So the quality improvement in cane grower is the need of the time. The sugar policy of the Government has been seriously lacking a long-term perspective. Controls, decontrols, partial controls, etc. have been used in past in an adhoc manner. It is necessary to assure supply of sugar to poorer sections at reasonable rate.
But government policy on cane prices, control of price of sugar, dual pricing etc. have been designed and implemented for the benefit of sugar mill owners and distributors and rarely for benefits of cane growers or for benefit of consumers of sugar. Much of the illness and problems of sugar industry are the result of the government’s policy. In the sugar industry several by-products specially bagasse and molasses are found. At one time bagasse was used as fuel, which sugar factories didnot know what to do with the accumulating molasses, a ealth hazards. Small cottage industries may be established for disposing these by-products in a positive way for preparing paper, cardboards, alcohol, fertilizers, cattle field etc. Apart from it manufacturing process of sugar also needs certain modification so that yield may be improved. CHALLENGES FOR SUGAR INDUSTRY India ranks first in sugar consumption and second in sugar production in world but it’s share in global sugar trade is below 3%. Indian sugar industry has been facing raw material, and resource as well as infrastructural problems.
Globalization has brought a number of opportunities but at the same time posed certain challenges before sugar industry. Most of sugar units in India utilize production capacity below 50%. Low capacity utilization and inadequacy of raw material led to closer of 100 sugar factories in India. Mounting losses and decreasing networth of sugar factories have been responsible for sickness of sugar industry. Sickness in sugar industry has reached to an alarming proportion. Indian sugar industry has been cash striven for decades.
Low cash inflow due to piling stocks leads to serious financial crisis and finally to closing sugar factories. Sugar prices have been a political issue rather than economical issue. Many a times it worsens economy of sugar factories. The main concern of sugar industry in India is fluctuations in sugarcane production due to inadquate irrigation facilities, lower sugarcane yield, and frequent droughts in tropical and sub-tropical areas where sugarcane is grown ona large scale. In addition, sugarcane yield has been lower (59 Mts per hectare).
Sugar recovery is also lower in comparison with other sugar manufacturing countries. This leads to escalation of production costs and weakness competitive edge of the industry. Most of sugar mills in India are having daily sugarcane crushing capacity of 1250 tonnes. These mills cannot have economies of scale so they have to incur high production costs. Indian sugar industry is characterized by high production costs. Therefore, daily crushing capacity should be extended to 2500 tonnes. Obviously, industry has a great challenge of existence in global market.
In recent years, sugarcane production in India has decelerated to a great extent due to water and power shortage. Special attention is needed to be given on water resource management. All the area under sugar cultivation should be brought under drip irrigation to conserve water as well as fertilizers. Adequate and regular power supply to sugarcane growers and sugar factories would increase production and productivity. To enhance share of Indian sugar industry in global trade, quality and quantity of sugar needs to be enhanced.
CONCLUSION ; SUGGESTIONS Sugar industry is the second largest agro-based industry in India. Sugar factories, particularly cooperative sugar factories in Maharastra and other states have been instrumental in building confidence among rural people and strengthening industrial base in rural India. In the era of globalization, sugra industry needs more competitive edge which can be given by way of modernization, enhancing productivity, and manufacturing excellent quality sugar at competitive prices.
It needs quality management at every level of activity to enhance its performance. The need of the hour is to liberalize industry from clutches of unprofessional people. Most of the sugar units do not have byproduct utilization plants. Projects based on bagasses and molasses should be initiated. Ethanol, alochol, and paper projects have tremendous scope for development in India. In future, 10-15% ethanol may be allowed to be blended with petrol. Bagasses based power generation projects installed adjacent to each sugar factory would fulfill need of power.
NABARD should provide adequate and timely refinance to these projects at concessional interest rates. New sugar units should be set up taking into consideration sugarcane availability. Research programme should be undertaken in area of sugarcane cultivation, enhancing sugarcane productivity, and sugar recovery. Sugarcane prices should be fixed on basis of sugar recovery. Attention is to be given on manufacturing quality sugar as per international standards at competitive prices.