Times change,market dynamics change, so does the palette. According to a survey by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), a major industry body in India, chocolates are going to be most favourite this Diwali season, as dry fruits have turned dearer and rising disposable incomes have created a new demand for cocoa-based products.
Gur and khandsari are traditional Indian sweeteners, which are produced in addition to sugar. These are the natural mixture of sugar and molasses. If pure clarified sugarcane juice is boiled, what is left as solid is gur, also called as jaggery. In Mexico & South America jaggery is also known as Panela.
Capital requirement in gur making is very less, when compared to the capital requirement for a sugar plant of the same capacity. Currently around one-third of India's sweetener production of 26 million tons is in the form of these products.
Sugarcane cultivation is done on around 4 million hectares of land in India. It mainly consists of the production of sugarcane that has fluctuated between 230-300 million tons in recent years. It can be considered a fair rate of production as the sugarcane requirement in 2020 is estimated to be 415 million tons.
Now everybody knows that sugar leads to diabetes. Some scientists have described sugar as a white poison. As against this, GUR is innocent and nutritious food and it contains many natural minerals. In India, gur is used since centuries and is a blessing for human health.
But still, gur or jaggery is not produced on a commercial scale globally. Sugar is the most prominent sweetener that is used worldwide. The sugar industry dominates the consumption of the sugarcane produced in the country as compared to gur industry.
In other words, sugar has been produced on a large scale not only in India but whole across the world. Now India must adopt a policy of increasing the production of gur. And for the highest possible gur recovery, varieties of gur have to be bred.
Already, grading is done for gur and jaggery, which is produced in India. Certain rules have been made under grading and marking rules, 1943 that relate to grading of gur and jaggery. These rules are applied to gur that is prepared in form of solid lumps. The following are the general characteristics of gur under these rules: -
(a) Shall be prepared exclusively from the clarified juice of sugarcane;
(b) Shall be prepared in the form of shaped solid lumps (Bheli, Chakki, Luddoos, etc.) which shall be of firm consistency - not sticky or plastic;
(c) Shall be reasonably free from extraneous matter such as bagasse, dirt & other impurities, the combined total of which shall be less than 1 percent by weight.
(d) shall be dried to such an extent as reasonably to maintain its color, consistency and weight;
(e) Shall bear no signs of superficial sweet or mould; and
(f) Shall be sweet to the taste and not possess a sour, salty or other objectionable flavor
Also, gur has been designated under four categories under these rules. The different grades are marked with a label of AGMARK with different colors pertaining to different grade designation: -
Extra Special - White
Special - Red
A I - Blue
A II - Yellow
B - Green
Main producing states of gur are UP, AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Some other states also produce it but in small quantity and which cannot even fulfill the local demand. Rate of gur is based on expiry rate of Muzaffarnager of Chaku quality. But prices are also affected by the buying interests of consumption mandis. It is important to note from where these consumption mandis are buying it as the rates there also affect the prices.
UP is the biggest gur producing state in India and Muzaffarnagar is the main mandi for it. However, other mandis are also there in which gur is traded and these are Hapur, Shamli, Barot, Meerut, Bijnor, Bulandshehar and Ghaziabad. There are good cold storage facilities in all producing mandis in which around 35 lakh Katte (1 Katta = 37.5 kg approx) could be stored. In UP, Chaku, Khurpa, Laddu-Musti, Pedi and Bheli quality is produced. In Muzaffarnagar mandi alone, around 22 lakh katte could be stored. Chaku is the main quality which is mainly consumed by consumers. The purchasing strategies of sugar mills and gur manufacturers are important and there is generally a good gap in their offer rates.
Maharashtra is second biggest producer of gur. Gur is prepared in places like Pune, Satara, Kohlapur, Sangli, Solapur, Latur etc. Gur is produced in this state practically the entire year. Here, 250 gm to 30 kg size of gur is prepared which is called Bheli. Demand from Gujarat is there for the product.
Taminadu, Karnataka and AP also produces gur and after fulfilment of local demand, these states sell the excess produce to other states. As gur is produced by unorgnised sector, so it is a bit dificult to find the actual production figures. But farmers put their stock in cold storages and these figures can give a rough estimate for the figures, which are published from time to time.
As Gur belongs mainly to the unorgnised sector, so the estimate regarding the production figures depend entirely on the stock which is kept in cold storages. Price movement is also depended on the stock in UP and purchasing interests of the southern states.