India is the second largest sugar producing country of the world after Brazil. In 1840, the first sugar industry was set up in Betia (Bihar).
Sugar production is known in India since ancient times, but modern sugar industry in India developed in first decade of the twentieth century.
Indian sugar industry is the second largest agro-based industry in India after cotton textiles. the basic raw material is sugar cane, which has some specific qualities.
- It is a weight losing raw material.
- It cannot be stored for long, because in that case, it loses the sucrose content.
- It can not be transported over long distances.
Till 1960, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were the leading sugar producers in India but later the tendency of decentralization of this industry were developed in South India because of the favourable climate, Black soils having high moisture retention capacity and development of tubewell irrigation.
In southern states of India sugarcane being of the tropical variety, has more sucrose content.
The crushing season is longer in the south India, where it lasts from October to May-June. In the north India, it lasts from November to February.
Uttar Pradesh is the leading producer of sugar.
The districts of Darbhanga, Saran, Champaran and Muzaffarpur are the leading producers of sugar in Bihar.
Phagwara and dhuri in Punjab are the main centers of sugar production.
Ambala, Rohtak and Panipat.
In peninsular India, Maharashtra is the most is the most important state where sugarcane cultivation and sugar mills are integrated in cooperative system.
Munirabad, Shimoga and Mandya.
Nalikupuram, Pugulur, Coimbatore and Pandyarajpuram.
Nizamabad, Medak, west and East Godavari, Vishakapatnam and Chittoor.
Bargarh and Rayagada.