The modernisation of sugar mills in the last six years has transformed them into "integrated sugar complexes," Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Friday.
Addressing an event on the occasion of 120 years of the sugar industry in the state, he said sugar in the state today is being produced on the same premises where there is an oxygen plant and an ethanol plant.
"UP's sugar mills which are the largest producer of sugarcane and sugar in the country, are now being recognised as a source of 'green energy' with adoption of the policies of the Prime Minister and production of ethanol in large quantities," he said.
The first sugar mill in the state was established in Deoria. The Chief Minister said that the way in the last few decades sugar mills were closing down farmers were desperate and were forced to migrate, till 2017, when the trend was reversed.
"In the last six years, a sum of Rs 1 lakh 97 thousand crore was paid to the sugarcane farmers through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer)," Adityanath said. Today there are 100 sugar mills in the state, which are paying the farmers within 10 days of purchase, he said, calling it a big change, and urging the rest of the mills to make similar efforts.
"There is no problem of sugarcane slips, complaints of shortage have ended. The number of sugarcane farmers has increased from 45 lakh to 60 lakh. The production of sugarcane has increased and so has the area," he said. UP is the largest producer of sugarcane in the country followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Adityanath said that when all industries were shut across the country during the COVID pandemic, the sugar mills of Uttar Pradesh were functioning, contributing to record production of sanitisers in 23 states, and facilitating the setting up of oxygen plants. At another event in the city, Adityanath urged the farmers to emphasise on the cultivation of horticulture crops to increase their income.
Addressing farmers after visiting the 54th Regional Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Exhibition held at Raj Bhavan here, he said, "Nature has given our farmers ample water resources and fertile land. Our state with 11 per cent of the agricultural land of the country meets the foodgrain needs of 20 per cent of India's population. Horticulture crops contribute 25 per cent to our food providers' agricultural GDP.
North India's biggest fruit and flower exhibition is held for three days in the Raj Bhavan. "Such exhibitions provide a new platform for progressive farmers," he said. A coffee table book based on the 120-year journey of the sugar industry was released by the Chief Minister. Meenakshi Saraogi who was given Padma Shri posthumously was among many from the industry who were honoured on the occasion.