Sugar beet is a temperate crop and is mainly cultivated in cold countries where sugarcane cultivation is not feasible. Out of the total sugar production in the world, 27% sugar is produced from sugar beet. Some countries in sub-tropics also have taken up sugar beet cultivation. In India, growing of sugar beet was tried at Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (IISR), Lucknow and at Padegaon in (M.S.) in 1960's. In 1970, the work was initiated under All India Co-ordinated Research Project (AICRP) on sugar beet. On the basis of agronomic trials conducted at various locations in India, the sugar beet cultivation was taken up in Sriganganagar area of Rajasthan for sugar production and in Sundarban area of West Bengal for alcohol production.
Sugarbeet root contains 16-19% sucrose and in the process of sugar extraction, 12-14% recovery is obtained. The crop remains in the field only for 5 to 6 months. Sugar beet being a salt tolerant crop, can also be grown in saline soils where other crops fail to grow. Sugar beet is not only the source of sugar, but also provides several by-products like ethanol, cattle feed & B ten. Molasses can be used in pharmaceutical industry for vitamin B-12.
In spite of above advantages, the sugar beet cultivation was stopped and sugar beet processing factory at Sriganganagar was closed.