Sugarcane farmers cry for reasonable price of produce

Gopal Prasad Baral

Mahottari, Dec 16: Every year, the winter brings woe and anger to sugarcane farmers in the Terai region.

It’s the time the sugarcane was harvested. But this time, the farmers are reluctant to sell their produce to sugar mills. Reason- the price of their products has not been determined by the authorities yet.

The sugar mills are ready to crush the cane but in the absence of price determination, the farmers are confused about whether they should sell their produce.

“Meanwhile, talks were held among government representatives, industry owners and sugarcane farmers associated with the Federation of Sugarcane Producers Association and Sugarcane Producers Farmers Association Mahottari several times but to no avail,” lamented Naresh Singh Kushwaha, Chairperson of the Sugarcane Producers Farmers Association Mahottari.

Kushwaha assessed that the delay on the part of the authorities was nothing but a vested interest and manoeuvre. According to him, they were trying to dally fix sugarcane prices, thereby forcing them to sell their product at reasonable prices.

The Federation’s demand is fixing sugarcane in proportion to the inflation in sugar prices. “Sugar cost Rs 72 per kg last year. This year, the government has told the sellers not to sell sugar beyond Rs 115 per kg,” shared Kapilmuni Mainali, Chairperson of the Federation.

He suggested the government that consider determining the price of sugarcane in proportion to the inflated price of the sugar. The representatives of the Federation complained that government representatives were indifferent to fixing the sugarcane’s price immediately.

The government representative, in the talk, held a few weeks ago, had proposed unofficially to consider raising the price of sugarcane by Rs 11 per quintal, according to a sugarcane farmer.

Federation’s Chairperson Mainali observed that the price of sugar is determined on a scientific basis. He opined that several factors should be taken into account while determining the sugar price.

“The price of our produces should be determined by considering how the farmers are getting to plough the farmland; how fertilizers are availed; how much wage is paid to workers and the cost and inflation in sugar price,” he argued.

The sugar mills had procured sugarcane for Rs 540 per quintal last year. It may be noted that the government has been providing a Rs 70 subsidy per quintal in sugarcane farming. The Federation demands that farmers should get Rs 750 (including subsidy) per quintal. (RSS)

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