Special Correspondent

Farmers want to be paid Rs. 1,550 for a tonne of sugarcane

Factories are not paying more than Rs. 1,200

BANGALORE: Sugarcane growers have threatened to protest in front of the Chief Minister’s residence from November 20 if the Government fails to come to their rescue by November 18.

The farmers have been demanding Rs. 1,550 for a tonne of sugarcane, the price recommended to the Centre by the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices for a tonne with nine per cent recovery of sugar. However, the Centre has fixed the minimum support price at Rs. 811.80 a tonne.

State Sugarcane Growers’ Association president Kuruburu Shantakumar on Tuesday called on Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and submitted a memorandum urging the Government to fix a higher price for sugarcane. Many sugar factories have not paid arrears totalling Rs. 200 crore to farmers for sugarcane supplied in the last season, he said.

Despite several meetings with Minister for Sugar and Agricultural Marketing Shivaraj Thangadagi, no solutions had been found for the problems facing the growers. The association had set November 18 as the deadline for the Government to increase the purchase price, he said.

Most of the sugar factories in the State have begun crushing sugarcane. While factories in north Karnataka have fixed the purchase price at Rs. 1,200 a tonne, those in the south have decided to pay Rs. 1,110 a tonne.

The Chief Minister had promised to convene a meeting with officials soon to discuss the problem, Mr. Shantakumar said.

Sugarcane production is likely to drop by 20 per cent in 2008-09. The State produced nearly four lakh tonnes of sugarcane in the last season, he said.