Cane farmers hope partial decontrol will ensure payment

G. Sathyamoorthi
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‘Sugar mills should start paying growers for byproducts’

Under the new regime of partial decontrol of sugar, farmers feel they should get a higher price by the sugar mills.— PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM
Under the new regime of partial decontrol of sugar, farmers feel they should get a higher price by the sugar mills.— PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM

While a large section of farmers has welcomed the partial decontrol of sugar announced recently, some are opposed to it contending that it would hit the common man in the long run.

C. Nallasami, secretary, Federation of Tamil Nadu Agriculturists’ Associations, hopes that hereafter there would be no pendency in settling the dues of cane suppliers by the mills as their cash reserves will substantially improve because of the decontrol.

“As the 10 per cent production that they have set aside for levy sugar so far could be sold at the market rate of Rs. 31 a kg as against Rs. 19 a kg they were selling to government for the public distribution system, they would become cash-rich.”

S.A. Chinnasamy, State president of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangham, says this was a benefit that farmers had been hoping for. “There has not been much delay in settling the payments this year though it used to take even months earlier. The Palacode Co-operative Sugar Mills in Dharmapuri district has been settling claims weekly whereas there was some delay in a couple of other co-operative mills.”

But both of them demand that the current system of not taking the byproducts like molass, bagass, ethanol, and power into account should cease. “As of now only the sugar recovery is taken into consideration for fixing sugar price. It is an unjust and atrocious practice.” Mr. Nallasami demands that farmers be paid for all these byproducts also as mentioned in the Sugarcane Control Act 1966.

However, Mr. Chinnasamy is confident that unlike private sugar mills, co-operative mills will not be able to hide the profit they make because of these byproducts.

The major benefit to the industry because of decontrol is “transparency”, Mr. Nallasami asserts.

However, he is not happy with the current system under which farmers are forced to supply only to a particular mill. “After crying from the rooftop regarding globalisation, how can you force farmers into selling their produce only to a particular mill?,” he says.

However, Aiyilai Siva Suriyan, Tiruchi district secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, said in a statement that the Rangarajan Committee’s recommendation on sugar decontrol would inflict incalculable harm on farmers, cooperative sugar mills, and consumers.

Therku Matrum Vadakku Ayyan Vaikal Pasanadharar Sangham convener N. Veerasekaran has lambasted the committee as having “betrayed” farmers and “favoured” the private sector. He estimated that mills which procure sugarcane at Rs. 1,500 a tonne are making a profit of Rs. 25,000. Despite such a profit, it is invidious to exempt them even from 10 per cent levy towards PDS.

  • ‘The practice of considering only the sugar recovery is unfair’

  • Farmers say they should be allowed to sell cane to any mill




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