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21 MAY, 2017 (MAINS)



Q1. The sugar industry is the second largest agro-based industry in India. However, the production of sugar is skewed towards states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, which are not very suitable for sugarcane cultivation and have also been suffering from water shortages. Examine the reasons behind this trend. What are the problems faced by the sugar industry in India and what are the possible measures to overcome the crisis? (200 words)


Please write the answer in comments section

  • Ashish

    Sugarcane has been traditionally cultivated in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh which have abundant supply of water and suitable soil
    However in recent times the states of Maharashtra Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have emerged as major production centres despite being geographically unsuited to sugarcane cultivation
    This can be attributed to a host of factors:

    • Technological changes in the sugarcane crop
    • The crop variety cultivated here has greater sucrose concentration and can retain sugar for a longer period unlike northern varieties which need to be crushed within 48 hours
    • This ensures sugar mills can run for a longer duration
    • Most of the sugar mills are run by the co-operatives and Co-operatives are well developed in the southern states as compared to the northern states
    • Better infrastructure in the form of roads and reliable power supply
    Challenges being faced by sugar industry in India
    • Rising input costs namely sugarcane whose pricing is a politically sensitive issue rather than being based on demand and supply
    • Obsolete technology
    • Distance criteria for locating two industries
    • Export curbs imposed by government during times of lower production
    • Competition from other countries namely Vietnam Indonesia etc
    C Rangarajan committee has recommended the following measures in order to improve the condition of sugar industry
    • Minimum distance criteria for location be done away with
    • Fair and remunerative prices be set by the centre in place of individual state governments
    • Export restrictions should not be put except in situations of emergency

  • Osho Korde

    • India is becoming more dryer than it already is due to heat waves and its effects are mostly seen in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
    • Genetically modified (GM) sugarcane is used before it was Bt cotton.
    • leading public research institutions in India re pushing the agribusiness agenda of using genetically modified (GM) crops to address the agrarian distress in the drought-stricken regions like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
    • In 2015, sugarcane cultivation was put on hold due to severe drought conditions, when all the borewells in the area dried up and RVEC and the surrounding community of small farmers was receiving tanker-water for their basic needs (drinking, washing and cooking).
    • We have two conditions
    1. Condition 1: that sugarcane continues to be grown in the drought affected areas of Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
    2. Condition 2: that the choice of crops in an area can be made on an agro-ecological basis (determined by the climate, soil type, water availability and local knowledge).
    • Local and regional drought-resistant dryland crops such as millets, pulses, oil seeds and local vegetables must be revived and supported to restore the livelihoods and food systems of these communities.
    • A need of serious water harvesting is very crucial.