There is a mismatch between investments and returns, say ryots

The sugarcane crushing season has begun, but, it did not bring any cheer to farmers in the district. It is a common sight to see farmers, along with loads of sugarcane on bullock carts, tramping towards a sugar factory, at Vuyyur or Hanuman Junction.

“We are going to factory relentlessly to supply them raw material though the prices are not remunerative,” said the farmers. The farmers rue that there was a gross mismatch between investments and returns. A farmer, on an average, invests Rs.1.2 lakh per acre. However, he or she gets not more than Rs.60,000 per acre.

“The sugar factory pays only Rs.1,950 per tonne of sugarcane. Of this, the farmer has to pay Rs.650 per tonne towards harvesting and Rs.200 to Rs.350 on transport. It leaves the farmer with a meagre Rs.1,000 per tonne,” they said.

A farmer, on an average, produces 30 tonnes per acre. To be more precise, the average yield is 27.5 tonnes. The sugarcane is grown in about 50,000 acres spread over 150 villages in the district; about 25 villages abutting Hanuman Junction, 100 in Vuyyur and 25 to 30 in Challapalli area. More than 10,000 farmers are dependent on sugarcane cultivation. More than 15 lakh tonnes of sugarcane is grown every year. Federation of Sugarcane Growers Association (AP) secretary N.S.V. Sarma said the farmers have been asking the government to provide ex-field price to sugarcane for the last 10 years. There is no response. Neither the sugar factories were helping the farmers nor giving transport and harvesting charges, he said.

Following suggestions from sugar factories, the farmers cultivated sugar in such a way that harvesting machines could be used. The factories remained silent thereafter. Each farmer incurred a loss of 3 to 4 tonnes per acre. Had the farmer stuck to traditional method, he would have got at least 30 tonnes, Mr. Sarma said.

The sugarcane farmers thought of announcing crop holiday this year and switch over to some other crop. As there was no water, they were compelled to grow sugarcane only. If the government's indifferent attitude continued, the farmers would not grow sugarcane in the next season, he adds.

  • 10,000 farmers are dependent on sugarcane cultivation

  • More than 15 lakh tonnes of sugarcane is grown every year in district