India is the largest producer and consumer in the world. Sugar industry is the second largest agro based industry in the country next only to textiles.
About 45 million sugarcane farmers, their dependents and a large agricultural force, constituting 7.5% of the rural population, is involved in sugarcane cultivation, harvesting and ancillary activities.
It employs about 0.5 million workers. The sugar production was 248 lakh tons in 2012-13. India ranks second after Brazil in the production of sugar.
Sugar production was known to Indians since ancient times. This industry is located in sugarcane-growing areas like Belgavi district in Karnataka. Maximum number of sugar mills are located in the Ganga river plain region.
The sugar mills are found in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc. There are totally 516 sugar mills in India producing about 263.6 lakh tons of sugar. Sugar is being exported to the U.S.A., Britain, Iran, Canada and Malaysia.
Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of sugar mills and it is called ‘Java of India’.