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Cooperative Movement in Maharashtra

The very first sugar cooperative, which was established by Vithalrao Vikhe Patil, was a reaction to the plight of cane-growing peasants who were trapped by landlessness, moneylenders and the exploitative policies of private sugar mills. In the mid-1940s peasants struggled to market their sugarcane. Extracting sugar from cane was expensive and uneconomical. So the cane was made into jaggery. But as there was a surfeit of raw sugarcane and jaggery prices invariably reached rock bottom. In 1948, Vikhe Patil organised the sugarcane growers of 44 villages in Ahmednagar district in western Maharashtra. The outcome was Asia's first cooperative sugar factory, which was commissioned in 1950.

The essence of the cooperative movement is that it gives the farmers the status of shareholders and assures them agricultural, educational and medical facilities. Under the Maharashtra State Cooperatives Act, a minimum of 11 farmers is required to form a cooperative. Today the shareholder membership averages between 15,000 and 25,000 farmers. The relationship between the shareholder farmer and the cooperative is simple - the farmer is committed to contributing a certain amount of cane per season and the mill is bound to take this cane.


The Sugar cooperative factories have formed their federation. More information about this federation here -

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