It's attributed to increase in area under sugarcane cultivation
Sugar production in the State is expected to create a record this year with a huge increase in the area under its cultivation, even as a minimum of 14 new sugar factories are likely to be set up this year.
Some of the existing factories are also planning to increase their crushing capacity.
Commissioner of the Sugar Directorate A.K. Monappa told The Hindu here on Tuesday that Karnataka, which is in the third place in sugar production in the country after Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, is likely to produce more than 33 lakh tonnes of sugar this year, compared to 25 lakh tonnes last year. The area under sugarcane cultivation this year is more than 4 lakh hectares, compared to 3 lakh hectares last year, according to Mr. Monappa.
To a question, Mr. Monappa said that the area under sugarcane production has been steadily increasing in Gulbarga district and two more sugar factories — Chincholi Sugars in Chincholi taluk in Gulbarga district and Core Green Sugars in Yadgir district — were expected to start crushing operations soon. While the Chincholi Sugars, covering Chincholi, Sedam and Chitapur taluks in Gulbarga district, would begin the trial crushing this year, the one in Yadgir district, covering the Shahapur, Yadgir and Surpur, would begin large-scale crushing by December.
Out of the 56 sugar factories in the State, crushing had begun in 44, and the rest would follow suit in about a fortnight's time. However, Mr. Monappa was did not want to assign any reason for the delay in announcing the procurement price for sugarcane by the factories this year, even though crushing operations had started in several units.
According to sources, the sugar factories have delayed the announcement of procurement price because of the volatile conditions of the market and a sharp decrease in the price of sugar in the wholesale market. The price of sugar is said to have crashed from Rs. 4,200 a quintal in April to Rs. 2,400 now.
Mr. Monappa, who recently held discussions with the managing directors of three sugar factories, Renuka Sugars (Ghattarga in Afzalpur taluk), Ugar Sugars (Jewargi taluk) and Aland Sugar Factory (Bhusnur village in Aland taluk), said that the authorities of Aland Sugar Factory had announced a procurement price of Rs. 1,700 a tonne as the first instalment, and the second instalment would be paid to farmers based on the prevailing price of sugar later.
Authorities of Renuka Sugars and Ugar Sugars have told the official that they would convene a meeting of farmers in the region and fix the price in a couple of days, in consultation with the growers.