Sugarcane is one of the main cash crops of India. From its juice, sugar, gur, alcohol etc. are produced. After the extraction of the juice the fibrous mass left behind is used for making paper and sound insulating board. In villages it is also used as fuel.
Climatic Conditions for Sugarcane Cultivation
Sugarcane is a tropical crop cannot be cultivated in cold regions.
Climate: It requires rainfall of 150 cm and temperatures between 20° to 26°. For or snowfall damages the plant.
See Breeze: It grows best when the salt breeze from the sea blows over it.
Soil: Deep silts or fertile loamy soils rich in lime and salts are very suitable.
Relief: Stagnant water is harmful for sugarcane cultivation. So well drained level land or sloping is suitable.
Labor: Sufficient amount of cheap labor is required for planting, maintaining, harvesting etc.
Developed transport system: After harvesting, the juice must be extracted quickly from the plant as it dries up and its sugar content decreases unless extracted with 24 hours. This requires quick transport between the farm and the sugar refinery.
Sugarcane Production in India
India ranks second in the world in sugarcane production. Tamil Nadu ranks first in India in highest yield per hectare, followed by Karnataka.
The total sugarcane produced in India is not used for the extraction of sugar. Nearly 50% of it is used for making gur. At one time India exported a lot of sugar but today she has to import sugar.
Sugarcane Producing States in India
In India sugarcane producing states can be grouped:
- North Indian States and
- South India States.
1. North India:
72% of the land under sugarcane in India lies in U.P., Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan etc. The important sugarcane producing regions are:
1. U.P.: has the largest area under sugarcane production (53%) in India and ranks first in area and production. the famous areas are Saharanpur, Shahjahanpur, Faizabad, Jaunpur, Bulandshahr, Azamgarh, Ballia, Varanasi, etc.
2. Bihar: Here large production occurs in Champaran, Saran, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.
3. Punjab: Amritsar and Jalandhar.
4. Rajasthan: Ganganagar.
5. West Bengal: Bardhaman, Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad. There are three sugar refineries in West Bengal, one at Ahmedpur in Birbhum district, Plassey in Nadia district and Beldanga in Murshidabad district.
6. Orissa: Mahanadi Valley.
7. Haryana: Hissar, Rohtak etc.
In South India lays 28% of the sugarcane cultivating area of India. It lies mainly in the four states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The yield is very high because sugarcane cultivation is carried out with the help of irrigation.
8. Maharashtra ranks second in India in sugarcane cultivation and production. Though a small area is under sugarcane cultivation, the yield per hectare is very high, nearly 90 thousand kg whereas in Tamil Nadu it is 1 lakhs 4 thousand kg and in U.P. only 35 thousand kg per hectare. In the Hawain islands the yield is 2 lakhs 29 thousand kg per hectare while in India it is only 75 thousand kg per hectare on average. Maharashtra has only 9% of India’s total area under sugarcane. Important areas of production are Kohlapur, Sholapur, Satara, Pune etc.
9. Tamil Nadu: only 6.5% of the total area under sugarcane in India is located in Tamil Nadu. Coimbatore and Madurai produce high amounts.
10. Karnataka: Shimoga and Belgaum.
11. Andhra Pradesh: in the deltas of the Krishna and Godavari Rivers.
- Indian sugarcane is not of good quality as both the juice and content of sugar is low.
- The fibre left after the extraction of juice is mainly used as fuel. If it was used for the making of paper or board the farmer’s income would increase.
- The yield per hectare is low.
- Most of the sugarcane is used to make gur. If sugar was produced then the farmer would get a better price by selling their sugarcane and therefore, be willing to produce more sugarcane.
High yielding varieties
To improve the production of sugarcane the seeds of stout sugarcane are being cultivated as POJ-2878 of Indonesia and B-208 of Barbados. In north India slim varieties of sugarcane are cultivated producing less sugar while in south India he juicy stout varieties are cultivated yielding more juice and sugar.
Sugarcane Research Institute
The Central Sugarcane Research Institute is located at Lucknow in U.P. In Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu a sugarcane research institute is carrying on research to improve the yield of sugarcane.
As the juice or sugar has to be extracted within 24 hours of harvesting export or import of sugarcane does not take place but that of sugar does.