1. Commodity News

Cane Farmers to get Sugar as Part-payment

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

Sugar commissioner of Maharashtra has given in-principle consent for making part of the cane payment in the form of sugar as the sugarcane price debts in the state have increased to Rs 4,576 crore. If executed, this move could create a big decentralised stock holding with farmers that can break the domination of traders in the sugar trade.

Shekhar Gaikwad, commissioner (sugar) of Maharashtra said, “Apart from subdued prices of sugar, sugar mills have been complaining about lack of demand for sugar. And few sugar mills, who have been facing liquidity crisis, have agreed to pay farmers in kind”.

Of the 181 sugar mill that have been operational in the state last year, only 10 have given full amount of the fair and remunerative price (FRP) as ordered by the law, whereas 25 have paid over 80 % of the FRP amount. Until now, sugar mills have paid only 39 % of the FRP dues to farmers. Maharashtra has crushed 497 lakh tonnes of sugarcane and produced 52 lakh tonnes of sugar up till now with a sugar recovery of 10.63 %.

A farmers’ organisation based in south Maharashtra, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana has been stiff on taking full payment of FRP as the 1st installment of cane price. It has also turned to some violence to press for its demand.

Member of Parliament and founder of Sanghatana, Raju Shetty said, “Per acre sugarcane production of farmers has decreased by 10 tonnes to 15 tonnes because of drought. As sugar mills have not made cane payments or made only part payment of the FRP, growers are not able to pay back their crop loans. Defaulting on the loans disqualifies them to get the interest rate subventions, leading to rise in burden of interest payment on them.”

Shetty, who demanded that sugar mills must give sugar to the farmers if they are unable to pay cash said, “As 80 % of the farmers produce around 50 - 60 tonnes of cane, each farmers will be given about 8 - 19 kg sugar / tonne of cane delivered to the factory.”

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