Upto 1945 there were about 145 Joint Stock Sugar Factories in the
country inclusive of some 12 factories in Maharashtra. In 1945 Late Padmashree Vithalrao Vikhe Patil pioneered the first successful
Co-operative Sugar Factory in the country at Pravaranagar in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra which was commissioned in 1951. The
Indian National Congress in its Nagpur Session held in 1953 resolved to have the future growth of the sugar industry mainly in
Co-operative Sector. Accordingly with emphasis laid by the Government of India on the role of Co-operative Sector in agro-processing
industries, Co-operative Sugar began to make strides. Maharashtra had very favourable agro-climatic conditions for cane cultivation.
The Central Sugarcane Research Station was already established in the State at Padegaon, Dist Pune in 1930.
The sugarcane growers in the State were really encouraged by the
announcement in 1954 by the then Bombay State Government of the 12 places in the State where sugar factories could be established,
with an offer of Government share capital contribution of Rs.10 lacs each if Co-operative Societies are organised for the same. The announcement fetched rush of application from about 16 Co-operative Societies. A meeting of the Promoters held
in the office of the Bombay State Co-operative Bank formed a Central Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. Dhananjayrao Gadgil
for guidance the Societies about the important issues like share capital, sugarcane area, irrigation, site selection, land,
transport facilities etc. State Government also appointed a Cabinet Sub-Committee for Co-operative sugar factories. With the
increase in number of Co-operative sugar factories and the tremendous response received from co-operators, need of apex Institutions
to guide and advise the Societies was felt. Hence on 11/2/1956 Bombay State Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Sangh was registered when 14
factories (inclusive of a Khedut Factory from Surat Dist.) were affiliated.
The Sangh had originally its office at Pune which was
subsequently transferred to Bombay in 1963 in a hired premises in Fort area. In 1986 Sangh’s Office was transferred to their
premises at ‘Sakhar Bhavan’, Nariman Point. At present Sangh has 190 co-operative
sugar factories as its members and is the biggest State Federation of its kind in the country. Only the co-operative sugar factories
registered under the Maharashtra State Co-operative Societies Act are eligible for Sangh membership.