The production of sugarcane which was 200 lakh tonnes fell to 103 lakh tonnes in 2012-13

The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Sugarcane Growers’ Association has demanded that the government announce an attractive support price of not less than Rs 3,500 per tonne of cane.

Federation secretary N.S.V. Sarma said that the cane growers had been suffering losses every season consistently for the last ten years.

The cost of production had increased considerably, but the yield per acre had come down.

The cost of production had increased to Rs 1.25 lakh an acre and yield per acre, which was above 40 tonnes an acre, had fallen to 30 tonnes, he said.

If the tripartite (growers, factories and government) meetings, which were held every year, were not resumed, sugarcane growers would be pushed into a crisis, he said.

Farmers who had been cultivating sugarcane since several years were now shifting to other crops such as maize and palm oil, Mr Sarma said. Additionally, production of sugarcane in the State was down by 50 per cent because farmers were making losses. The production of cane which was 200 lakh tonnes fell sharply to 103 lakh tonnes in 2012-13.

The same could not be said for either the factories or the government.

The 40 sugar factories in the State were still making profits from by-products like molasses and bagasse and the government was not concerned because it was earning tax on the by-products. But there was no benefit for the growers in these profits, Mr Sarma said.

The purchase price of Rs 2,400 per tonne of sugarcane announced by KCP Sugar Factory in Krishna district was not remunerative, but the farmers here were forced to cultivate the crop because water required for the cultivation of other more remunerative crops such as paddy was not available.