Sugar industry is the second largest agro-based industry of India. If we take Gur, Khandsari and Sugar together, then India becomes the largest producer of sugar product in the world. In 2003, there were about 453 sugar mills in the country.
This industry employs about 2.5 lakh people.
The production of sugar depends upon the production of sugarcane and it fluctuates with the fluctuations in the production of sugarcane. The total sugar production in 1950-51 was 11.3 lakh tonnes. It increased to 201.32 lakh tonnes in 2002-2003. In 2003-04, it fell down to 138 lakh tonnes.
Most of the sugar mills are concentrated in six states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh: It holds a significant position in the production of sugar. The sugar mills are highly concentrated in the western Uttar Pradesh in the districts of Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Moradabad and Bulandshahar. In the eastern Uttar Pradesh Deoria, Basti, Gonda and Gorakhpur are important centres.
Uttar Pradesh has largest area under sugarcane cultivation. It has about half of the total area under sugarcane cultivation. But it was able to produce only one-third of the total production of sugar (2003-04) in the country. Evidently, per hectare production as well as sugar contain in produce are relatively low.
Maharashtra: Maharashtra is the most important state in the peninsular India producing about one-fourth of the total sugar production in India. Major centres of sugar production are Nasik, Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Sholapur.
Andhra Pradesh: East and West Godawari, Visakha-pattnam, Nizamabad, Medak and Chittoor districts are the centres of sugar mills in this state.
Tamil Nadu: In Tamil Nadu North and South Arcot, Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli are the important districts for sugar production.
Karnataka: It is also an important sugar producing state. Belgaum, Mandya, Bijapur, Bellary, Shimonga and Chitradurga are sugar producing districts.
Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan are other states where sugar mills are located.
Factors for Location
The following are the factors for the localization of sugar industry:
- Sugarcane is the main raw material for making sugar. Sugar mills can be set up only in the sugarcane producing areas. Sugarcane gets dry soon after harvesting. It can neither be stored nor kept for long period of time. Sugarcane should be taken immediately to the sugar mills after harvesting.
- Transportation cost of sugarcane is high. Generally sugarcane is transported through bullock carts which can carry it upto 20-25 kilometers. Recently tractor trolleys and trucks have been used to carry sugarcane to the sugar mills.
Beside these factors, capital, market, labour and power also play significant role in localization of this industry.
Reasons for shifting of sugar industry from North India to Peninsular India:
Over the period, sugarcane industry is gradually shifting from north Indian states to states in Peninsular India. Some of the important reasons are as follows:
- The production of sugarcane per hectare is higher is Peninsular India. In fact, sugarcane crop grows well in the tropical climate of south India.
- The sucrose contents is higher in the tropical variety of sugarcane grown in the south.
- The crushing season in south India is longer than in north India.
- In south India most of the mills have modern machinery.
- Most of the mills in Peninsular India are in cooperative sector, where profit maximization is not the sole objective.