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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Sugarcane or Sugar cane (Saccharum) is a genus of 6 to 37 species (depending on taxonomic inter (family Poaceae, tribe Andropogoneae), native to warm temperate to tropical regions.

  • They have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar and measure 2 to 6 meters tall.

  • All of the sugarcane species interbreed, and the major commercial cultivars are complex hybrids.

Cultivation

  • Sugarcane cultivation requires a tropical or subtropical climate, with a minimum of 600 mm (24 in) of annual moisture.

  • Sugarcane is propagated from cuttings, rather than from seeds; although certain types still produce seeds, modern methods of stem cuttings have become the most common method of reproduction.

  • Each cutting must contain at least one bud, and the cuttings are usually planted by hand. Once planted, a stand of cane can be harvested several times; after each harvest, the cane sends up new stalks, called ratoons.

  • Sugarcane is harvested mostly by hand or sometimes mechanically.

Process

  • Traditionally, sugarcane has been processed in two stages. Sugarcane mills, located in sugarcane-producing regions, extract sugar from freshly harvested sugarcane, resulting in raw sugar for later refining, and in "mill white" sugar for local consumption.

  • Sugar refineries purify raw sugar to produce refined white sugar, a product that is more than 99 percent pure sucrose.

  • These two stages are slowly becoming blurred. Increasing affluence in the sugar-producing tropics has led to an increase in demand for refined sugar products in those areas, where a trend toward combined milling and refining has developed.

Uses

  • Direct consumption of raw sugarcane cylinders or cubes, which are chewed to extract the juice, and the bagasse is spat out.

  • Freshly extracted juice by hand or electrically operated small mills, with a touch of lemon and ice, makes a delicious and popular drink.

  • Molasses, used as a sweetener and as a syrup accompanying other foods, such as cheese or cookies.

  • Sugarcane is also used in rum production, especially in the Caribbean.

Market

  • Sugar is India's second largest agro-processing industry. Sugar area accounts for 2.2 percent of country's total cropped area.

  • India's domestic sugar market is estimated at Rs. 25,000 crore.

  • About 45 million Indian farmers and their families are dependent on the sugar cultivation.

  • Uttar Pradesh accounts for 35 percent of India's total sugarcane production but productivity wise the state lags behind the national average of 70 tonne per hectare. Sugarcane production in UP is around 60 tonne per acre.

  • Indian sugar industry's total installed capacity (estimated) stands at 16.5 mn tonne per annum while actual production stood at 18.5 mn tonne.

  • Tamilnadu alone has 38 mills, of which 19 are privately owned. India is one of the leading manufacturers of sugar, and one of the largest consumers too. Tamilnadu's share in the sugar industry was considerable.

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