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Agro-Based Industries

Sugar Industry


The sugar industry is the most important industry among the various agro-based industries in Maharashtra. The life of approximately 2.5 crore of people in the rural areas is dependent on this industry. Almost Rs. 2200 crore worth revenue is collected from the sugar industry alone. In the process of sugar production, almost 5000 people are involved, right from the cultivation of sugarcane to the delivery of sugar in the market. One sugar factory means employment for 5000 personnel. These figures substantiate the importance of sugar industry in Maharashtra. There are total 202 registered sugar factories (including some that are either closed or in financial difficulties), with a turnover of approximately 12,000 crore of rupees. There is an increase in the production of sugar every year and in 2007, it reached an all-time high of almost 850 lakh tonnes.

The sugar factories in Maharashtra have a 60-year old tradition. Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe-Patil established the first co-operative sugar factory in Ahmednagar district. Dhananjayrao Gadgil, the senior expert in co-operative sector, Vasantdada Patil, Tatyasaheb Kore to name a few and many others have also contributed to the growth of cooperative sector in Maharashtra.

The cooperative sugar factories in the State have not just remained an industry, but they have become a movement. This movement not only led to the industrial development of the State but also gave Maharashtra many of its social and political leaders. The establishment of sugar factories led to speedy development of basic amenities in its neighbourhood. It also led to the tradition of starting major educational complexes just next to the sugar factories. Many irrigation schemes, lift irrigation as well as many schools, colleges, hospitals and other social-welfare schemes were implemented by these sugar factories. This led to social as well as educational development along with industrial progress of the State.

Allied Products

The sugar industry also creates many by-products. Approximately 28-30 tons of crushed sugarcane, 4 tons of scum, 3 tons of distilled mess and almost 0.3 tons of ashes are the by-products after crushing 100 tons of sugarcane. These secondary by-products become the raw material for other industries.

Sugarcane and sugar production in  Maharashtra


Area cultivating sugarcane
(’000 hectares)

Production of sugarcane
(tonnes per hectare)

Sugar production
(lakh tonnes)

Sugar (%) Sugar Factories (Number)
1980-81 256 92.00 28.85 11.07 82
1990-91 440 96.52 41.17 10.76 102
2000-01 590 576• 67.2 11.7 140
2001-2002 Not available 480• 55.8 11.2 127*
2002-2003 Not available 534• 62.0 Not available 159

1999 – 2000 figures.   • Sugarcane Production (lakh tons)    *13 Factories closed
(Reference – Vasantdada Sugar Institute, Pune Handbook and Maharashtra Times)

The sugar factories in Maharashtra are also concentrating on diverse fields like alcohol, chemicals and paper industries. 6 sugar factories in the State have used crushed sugarcane, while two other sugar factories have used bio-gas to produce electricity through cogeneration.
The sugar factories in the State have also contributed to an all round development in the rural areas by encouraging and engaging in various activities like building machines to produce bio-gas, digging wells, building public lavatories, producing animal-feed, poultry and horticulture.

Textile Industry

The textile industry using modern methods started in Maharashtra 150 years ago. The first cotton mill was started in Mumbai in 1854. This cotton mill is considered the first mill in the country.

Mumbai is the biggest centre of the textile industry in Maharashtra. As the city is close to the sea, its humid climate is suitable for the production of textiles. This is why the textile industry has centred in Mumbai on a large scale. Specific types of textiles are also produced in Nashik, Kolhapur, Sangli, Solapur and Nagpur. For example, Paithani Saris and Peetambars from Yeole (Nashik), blankets from Solapur, as well as cotton textiles from Nagpur. Ichalkaranji (Kolhapur) and Malegaon (Nashik) are also famous for handloom and machine loom.

Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry plays an important role in the rural economy of Maharashtra. Animals like cows, buffaloes, bullocks, goats, sheep and hens have an important place in rural economics. In the year 2007-08, this sector had 24% share in the agricultural income of the gross State product. The density of animal resources is 120 per sq km (according to the 2007 livestock census).

Other agro-based industries include the dairy industry. The dairy industry has become a regular source of income throughout the year, which is why it has been accepted as a supplementary industry to farming. 65% of farmers in the State are involved in the dairy industry. Mahanand, Gokul and Warana are some of the major as well as popular names in this sector. This sector creates opportunities for employment in the aspects of production, processing, transport and cattle rearing.

Animal Husbandry and Poultry





Percent Growth
Milk 000 Metric tonnes 6,978 7,187 3.0
Eggs Crore 340 351 3.2
Meat 000 Metric tonnes 243 250 2.9
Wool Lakh kg 16.67 16.96 1.7

                                                  * provisional

In the year 2006-07, this sector had 21% share in the agricultural income of the gross State product. According to the 2003 livestock census, there were 3.71 crore animals in the State.

Silk Industry

The climate in the State is suitable for the silk industry and there is great scope for further development in this sector leading to greater employment generation. Maharashtra ranks first in the country in the production of silk using non-traditional methods and 5th in the total production of silk. Mulberry silk development programme is being run in 23 districts while the Tussar silk development programme is being run in four districts, namely, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Bhandara and Gondia.


Maharashtra has the benefit of the Konkan coastline that extends up to 720 km. Salt water fishery is an important business of Konkan. Dahanu, Mahim, Vasai, Versova, Alibaug, Murud-Janjira, Shrivardhan, Dabhol, Ratnagiri, Shirod, Harne and Vengurle are important fisheries centres. The Surmai, Pomfret, Prawns, Bangda, Ravas and Halva type of fish are found off the Konkan coastline. Besides this, fresh water fishing is carried out in rivers, lakes and the backwaters of dams. Fish is an important food item of the diet of people in the State. Fish is also used for production of oil, cosmetics and fertilizers.

Salt water fishing is carried out over an area of 9.12 lakh sq km, fresh water fishing over an area of 3.01 lakh hectares while semi salt water fishing is over an area of 0.19 lakh hectares. 

Significant Particulars Regarding Fisheries





Total fish production:
Salt-water Lakh metric tonnes 3.6 4.1 4.6
Fresh-water Lakh metric tonnes 1.0 1.3 1.3
Total   4.6 5.4 5.9
Value of fish produce:
Salt-water Rupees in Crore NA 1,506 1,423
Fresh-water Rupees in Crore NA 755 622
Total   NA 2,261 2,045
Units Lakh metric tonnes 0.5 1.0 1.40
Value Rupees in Crore 686 1,237 1,347
Fishing boats Numbers 27,812 26,195** 24,644
Mechanized boats Numbers 14,469 14,666** 14,554
Fish collection centres Numbers 184 184 ** 184

*: Till December 2007, **: temporary, NA: Not Available



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