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Sugarcane production in India shifting from South to North: NSO report

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production in the country is experiencing a distinct shift from the South to the North. The six producing Northern Indian states saw a 42 per cent increase in their output value during the period between 2011- 2020 while output value of five sugarcane producing Southern states declined 32.4 per cent during the same period, according to a latest National Statistical Office (NSO) report.


The report, consisting of data on output value from agriculture, forestry and fishing shows that the cumulative production value of sugarcane in Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand increased from Rs 302.16 billion to Rs 429.2 billion over the decade in real terms.


Meanwhile sugarcane output in the five sugarcane producing Southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra declined from Rs 268.23 billion to Rs 181.19 billion in the corresponding period.


This Northward shift in sugarcane production is on account of larger irrigated area in the North and higher State Advisory Price (SAP) over and above the centre’s Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) being offered especially by Uttar Pradesh, says Mahendra Dev, Director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR).


For example, the UP government pegged sugarcane SAP at Rs 340 per quintal last year whereas sugarcane farmers in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra are only able to realise prices in the range of Rs 280-310.


Although Maharashtra is the leading sugar producer in the country, Uttar Pradesh has the highest sugarcane output value in the country.


“Northern states like Uttar Pradesh have been consistently offering higher SAP for sugarcane over the past decade. Southern states including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have moved away from SAP and adopted the revenue sharing model. But they are not able to realise a remunerative price as the mills have been reporting precarious financial situations. Moreover, they (Southern states) are diverting their water to other high value crops,” says Dev.


Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for around 83 per cent of the output value among the six northern states and it registered a growth of 43.9 per cent in its output value from Rs 248.6 billion to Rs 357.7 billion over the decade, as the sucrose levels in the sugarcane produced in the state continue to increase, explains Dev.


Bihar, Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand also saw their output value increase by nearly 35, 30, 23 and 10 per cent respectively.


In the Southern states, Tamil Nadu saw the highest decline of nearly 66 per cent in the output value to Rs 18.55 billion, followed by Andhra Pradesh which saw a decline of nearly 63 per cent to Rs 7.3 billion.


Barring Karnataka, which saw a marginal increase of 0.9 per cent in the output value, other sugarcane producing southern states like Telangana and Maharashtra also saw their output value decline by nearly 50 and 27 per cent respectively.


Data sourced from the Reserve Bank of India shows total sugarcane production in the five Southern states has come down from 181.35 million tonnes to 130.65 million tonnes during the 2011- 2020 period while the production in the six Northern states has increased from 161.7 million tonnes to 222.51 million tonnes.

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