M. Gunasekaran

UDUMALPET: Amaravathy Cooperative Sugar Mills near here is expected to exceed its full crushing capacity after a gap of three years.

With abundance of sugarcane crop in this region with a rich yield and a reasonable price offered by the mill, the mill successfully crushed 1.68 lakh tonnes against the full crushing capacity of 2.15 lakh tonnes. Crushing for the season began since March 23, and the mill offer Rs.1,014 per tonne to the farmers.

According to S. Jayasingh Selvaraj, special officer of the mill, last three successive years the mill had undergone a tough period owing to meager cane availability.

The mill, one of the pioneer mills in cooperative sector with high recovery rate, suffered a jolt owing to drought and low price fixed by the Government.

Mr. Selvaraj said in 2001-02, it had crushed 2.32 lakh tonnes and then the downward turn began. The year 2002-03 saw crushing of 1.98lakh. In 2003-04 it crushed 43,711 tonnes. Last year was the worst with just 22,000 tonnes, 10 per cent of its total capacity.

The present recovery rate crossed 10 per cent. With jaggery price plummeting in the private market and abundant crop availability, farmers who had not registered their crop were willing to supply the same.

However, Mr. Selvaraj said their plea would be considered only after crushing the cane from registered farms. ``Once the crushing of registered cane is over, after getting farmers' concurrence the unregistered cane could be taken up,'' he said.