Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Due to the “unscientific” policies of the Union and State Governments, sugarcane production was coming down. Sugar, which is now available in the market at Rs. 30 a kg may reach Rs. 50 in the coming days, alleged the Federation of Farmers’ Association and the State Sugarcane Growers’ Association.

Cane Growers’ Association president Kuruburu Shantha Kumar told presspersons here on Friday that because of the price hike, farmers were being put to hardship and were forced to look for alternative employment opportunities. “In the last two years, the production of sugarcane has come down by almost 50 per cent.”

He added that in 2007-08, the production of sugarcane was 4 crore tonnes and had been reduced to three crore tonnes in 2008-09 and in 2009-10 it would come down to 2.5 crore tonnes, he said.

“Since sugarcane did not fetch remunerative prices, most growers were veering around the idea of dealing in jaggery. At least now, the Government should think of safeguarding the interests of farmers by formulating a sugarcane policy,” he said. “Instead of importing raw sugar from other countries and spending crores of rupees, the Centre can take the material from farmers in India and cut down on needless expenditure. The Union and State governments should take immediate steps to help sugarcane growers,” Mr. Shantha Kumar said. He said the Government should not allow conversion of agricultural lands and it should prevent land grabbers from taking advantage of the situation. “If this is implemented, agricultural lands will be taken over by the land mafia,” he said.