To boost farm income, the Uttar Pradesh government is fostering the sugarcane value chain by promoting the unrefined sugar or ‘khandsari’ units in the state.
Unlike regular white sugar, khandsari is unbleached and does not contain additives, and is reckoned as more healthier and nutritious.
UP is among the country’s top sugarcane producers with the cane acreage and production pegged at 2.85 million hectares (MH) and 234.8 million tonnes (MT) respectively in the current 2022-23 sugarcane season (Oct-Sep).
According to UP additional chief secretary, sugar industry and cane development, Sanjay R Bhoosreddy, sugarcane plays an important role in the economy and development of the state.
“The state government is committed to increasing the cane crushing capacity to facilitate an early supply of ratoon crop to mills, and consequent timely sowing of wheat and other crops,” he claimed.
For the development of small and cottage industries and local employment generation, the rules for establishing khandsari units have been simplified, and an online licensing policy introduced.
So far, 284 new khandsari unit licenses have been issued in the cane growing districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Moradabad, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Badaun, Rampur, Shahjahanpur, Lakhimpur, Sitapur, Ayodhya, Bahraich etc.
Besides, the crushing capacity of 22 private sugar mills had also increased to ensure that the sugarcane crop is readily supplied and crushed.
In the current sugar season, about 120 sugar mills are participating in the crushing operations, including private 93 units, cooperative 24 units and UP State Sugar Corporation (UPSSC) 3 units.
The state estimates the UP sugar production to hit 11 MT after deducting around 1.5 MT of sugar equivalent to sugarcane diversion towards ethanol production.