Padmashri Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil Co-Operative Sugar Factory Limited

Asia's first cooperative sugar mill which revolutionized the concept of ownership and added an edge of social responsibility.


Padmashri Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil Sahkari Sakhar Karkhana Limited holds the distinction of being the first cooperative sugar mill in Asia. The concept of a sugar factory owned and operated by sugarcane growing farmers was unthinkable. A pioneer made it happen in 1950!

Drought was a miserable fact of life in and around Loni in the 1940s, something which spelled doom for farmers who went ever deeper into the clutches of moneylenders. Starvation ruled the land and many chose to end their lives.

It was in the backdrop of such dismal conditions that Dr. Vitthalrao went around convincing people of the viability of a cooperative sugar factory. His stubborn persistence won the day and soon even poor farmers sold their cattle and jewellery to contribute to the construction of the factory.

Life in the 44 villages around Loni was never the same again! The factory created prosperity and employment. Most importantly, it restored the dignity of the farmer. Dr. Vitthalrao urged people to invest their prosperity into education and the Pravara Rural Education Society (PRES) was born.

With an eye on integrated rural development, the factory encouraged scientific sugarcane cultivation and provided expert advice, tractors, tools, high-yielding seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. It also promoted irrigation and a strong road network. The virtuous circle was complete!

Ancillary Units

Pravara Distillery

  • Est. 1970
  • Capacity: 120 KLPD
  • Rectified Spirit and Industrial Alcohol from Molasses
  • First in India to run on Exhaust Steam

Pravara Ethanol Plant

  • Capacity: 80 KLPD

Biogas Plant

  • Est. 1987
  • Capacity: 30-35 thousand cubic meters biogas per day from effluents
  • Energy generation
  • Lowers air and water pollution

Biogas Plant (Pressmud)

  • Set up under scheme of Union Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources
  • Capacity: 340 cubic meters per day
  • Cooking fuel for 196 worker families

Chemical Plant

  • Aldehyde Capacity: 10 TPD
  • Glyoxal Capacity: 5 TPD

Development Fund

  • Marginal contributions from shareholders
  • Invests in irrigation, agriculture, education, and medical welfare of community

Three-Tier Seed Production Program

  • Systematic high-quality sugarcane seed production
  • Expanded yield by 31 MT/hectare

Compost Manure Project

  • Est. 1997
  • Capacity: 20-25 thousand MT
  • High-quality compost manure from solid waste of sugar factory
  • Minimized distillery effluents

Maharashtra Pani Parishad

  • NGO est. 1995
  • Systematic and scientific tackling of water issues
  • Transporting water from surplus to deficit regions