Many farmers in the State have expressed disappointment over the State Advised Price for sugarcane for the 2013-14 season announced by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday and have sought an increase in the procurement price of the crop.
Responding to the announcement of Rs. 550 hike in procurement price and the SAP for sugarcane at Rs.2,650 per tonne for 2013-2014, farmer organisations urged the State and Central governments to fix the procurement price at higher rates that would make up for rising cultivation costs.
“We were expecting to get at least Rs.3,500 a tonne. But the SAP has come as a disappointment as farmers will get only Rs.2,650 a tonne now,” said R.Raja Chidambaram, State Secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.
Farmers still reeling under the impact of drought condition,would be discouraged to take up sugarcane cultivation unless the State and Centre increased the procurement price, he added.
C. Appavu Balandar, district secretary of the Non Political Party Farmers Association, Pudukottai, said the price announced by the State government was inadequate and in no way it would help the cane farmers. They demanded a price of Rs. 4,000 per tonne.
The farmers would not opt for cane crop next season, if the government did not hike the procurement price, he added.
G. G. Dhanapathy, district chairman, Farmers Forum of India, Pudukottai, too demanded Rs. 4,000 per tonne. The farmers incur a huge expenditure for harvesting the crop and for the mamool for the trucks and lorries, he said.
R.V.Giri, general secretary, Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations—Tamil Nadu unit urged the Chief Minister to emulate her counterpart in Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, who had allotted from the government kitty Rs 500 extra for a tonne of sugarcane, over and above the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of Rs 2,850 for a tonne announced by the Centre, taking the procurement price to Rs 3,350.
“While the very fixation of the SAP has left much to be desired, the differential rates being offered to the cane growers attached to the private factories and those of the cooperative and public sector factories are not in the best interests of the stake holders. Therefore, the SAP should be uniformly applicable without any distinctions,” said S.Venkatesan, general secretary of the Federation of Cuddalore District Farmers’ Associations.
At a time when sugar sector is in a crisis, the procurement of a tonne for Rs. 2,650 inclusive of Central Government's Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of Rs. 2,100 appears reasonable, according to Ponnaiyan, State Coordinator, Struggle Committee of Tamil Nadu Sugarcane Farmers' Association.
“Pricing mechanism flawed”
Calling for a review of the “flawed” pricing mechanism for procurement of agricultural products, M.V. Shanmugaraj, president, Pugalur Sugar Mill Sugarcane Farmers' Association, urged the Central and State governments to implement Swaminathan Commitee recommendation for fixing a procurement cost that would ensure returns of 50 per cent more than the expenditure.
PMK Founder S.Ramadoss also wanted the government to introduce the system of conducting talks with representatives of farmers’ association through Commissioner of Sugars before the fixing the price.