Original home of sugar and sugarcane was well-known in India. Indian tradition also supports that the sugar and sugarcane originated in India. The invention of manufacture of cane sugar granules from the sugar cane juice in India a little over two thousand years ago, followed by improvements in refining the crystal granules in India in the early centuries AD.
Around 600 A.D the Chinese emperor, Tsai-Hang sent an emissary to Bihar – where sugarcane was cultivated for making sugar – to learn the art of making sugar. Therefore, it is from India that the art of making sugar went to Persia and subsequently to the world over.
Sugar was first produced from sugarcane plants in northern India sometime around the first century CE. The derivation of the word “sugar” is thought to be from Sanskrit शर्करा (śarkarā), meaning “ground or candied sugar,” originally “grit, gravel”. India has been known as the original home of sugar and sugarcane and also the sugar manufacturer.
The first Sugar Company in India was set up in 1903 with a modest cane crushing capacity with a few vacuum pan units established in sub-tropical belts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The first sugar manufacturing company for the production of white sugar was set up by the Dutch in 1840, in north Bihar. The first successful sugar company was established in 1903 by the British. When the modern sugar industry was set up, it faced intense competition from the factory-made white sugar. India was the first, to begin with, the production of sugar by the process of pressing sugarcane to extract the juice and boil it to get crystals.
Today, the sugar industry's contribution to the rural economy has a significant social and economic impact for the nation as well. The sugar industry is a green industry and is largely self- sufficient in energy needs through utilisation of bagasse for generating electricity and steam. The sugar industry is probably the only industry in the country which utilizes all its by-products commercially by value addition thereby contributing towards the renewable power generation and green bio-fuel namely, Ethanol.