The sugar season in Maharashtra is all but over, with just six mills in operation. The short season, which will see the lowest sugar production in the last 10 years, has been exceptionally beneficial for farmers as mills have paid well over the fair and remunerative price; mills in Nanded division have ensured 100 per cent of their payments.
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Starting under the shadow of two consecutive droughts, the present sugar season has produced the lowest recorded sugar output in the state. Till date, 36,970 lakh tonnes (lt) of cane have been crushed and 41.65 lt of sugar produced. Before this, the lowest sugar production, of 46.14 lt, was seen in 2008-09.
Other than the short season, this year the sector has also seen multiple estimates about probable sugar production, the majority of which did not match up.
Of the 150 mills which had taken season, only two mills in Kolhapur division and four mills in Pune division remain operational. Mills in Nanded, Aurangabad, Aurangabad, Amravati and Nagpur have all closed operations. The six mills which are operational are from the cooperative sector.
As many as 117 sugar mills have paid 100 per cent of their dues. A short season and paucity of cane has come as a blessing for growers, most of whom have received payment well over the FRP. As against the total payable amount of Rs 7,979.68 crore, mills have paid Rs 8,323.84 crore. However, some of the mills have defaulted in payment.