Home > Sugar > Sugar Industry in India: Basics

Sugar Industry in India: Basics

I have made a small attempt to list down the very basics of the sugar industry. Will keep updating it as and when I get the information and time.

India is the second largest producer of sugarcane next to Brazil. Presently, about 4 million hectares of land is under sugarcane with an average yield of 70 tonnes per hectare.

Crushing/Harvesting Season: November to April

Properties of sugar: Sugarcane needs to be crushed within 24 hours of harvesting
Thus, sugar mills need to be centrally located or close to the mills

Sugar Year/Season: October to September

Climate: Sugar requires tropical climate. It also requires maximum variation in temperature during the day & night

Sugarcane Yield: Also known as Sucrose content, is the most important element of the sugar industry. In India, yield is nearly 10-11%

Sugar refining process: 

   – Pressing of sugarcane to extract the juice.
    – Boiling the juice until it begins to thicken and sugar begins to crystallize.
    – Spinning the crystals in a centrifuge to remove the syrup, producing raw sugar.
    – Shipping the raw sugar to a refinery where it is washed and filtered to remove remaining non-sugar ingredients and color.
    – Crystallizing, drying and packaging the refined sugar

By products:

Molasses – Used by breweries
Bagasse – Used by co-generation plants
On burning the remainder, chemicals are added to make fertilisers

Other products made from Sugarcane:  While nearly 2/3rd of the sugarcane produced in India is used to make sugar, the remaining is utilised by the Gur and Khandsari sectors. They are traditional/alternate sweetners.

Major sugar-producing states in India: UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu

Sugar products: Worldwide sugar products are divided into four basic categories-granulated, brown, liquid sugar and invert sugar.

Sugar Pricing:

  • The government introduced the new sugarcane policy which aims at bringing uniformity in sugarcane prices throughout the country.
  • The policy replaces the central government’s statutory minimum price (SMP) with a fair remunerative price (FRP).
  • Five state governments including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu declare a statutory administered price (SAP) which is far higher than the SMP, while Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka follow the SMP.
  • For the sugar year October 2009 to September 2010, FRP was fixed at Rs.129.84 per quintal and for sugar year Oct-Sep 2010-11 is approved at Rs139.12 per quintal.
  • The sugarcane farmer is legally guaranteed a price of Rs 139.12 per quintal of sugarcane. The sugar mills are free to offer any price above the FRP as deemed fit by them.

Bulk Consumers

A study commissioned by the Indian Sugar Industry has estimated that over 60% of the non-levy (freesale) sugar sold in the market is consumed by the non-household (commercial) sector. Out of this, over 50% is the share of the confectionery, beverage, hotel etc. industries, which are called bulk consumers. (Source: PIB, Aug 2010)

Reference Websites: Indian Sugar Mills Association

Categories: Sugar
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