Special Correspondent

It is nowhere near the recommended price of Rs.1,550 for a tonne

CUDDALORE: The Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations has expressed its disappointment over the State Government fixing the sugarcane procurement price at Rs.1,050 a tonne.

State general secretary of the Consortium R.V.Giri in a statement issued here on Monday noted that the government had also announced an incentive of Rs.9 a tonne for every 0.1 per cent exceeding 9 per cent recovery.

He observed that at a time when the cost of inputs had increased manifold and the inflation rate was hovering around 11 per cent the latest procurement price would not be viable to the cane growers. The government had increased the price only minimally, that is, from Rs.1,034 a tonne last year to Rs.1,050 a tonne now.

The government had fixed the procurement of both rice and sugarcane at the same level without taking into consideration the fact that while the former was a three-month crop the latter was a year-long one. Therefore, parity would not be reasonable on this score.

He pointed out that the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, (CACP) after having taken cognizance of all facts and conducting a nationwide survey had recommended a procurement price of Rs.1,550 for a tonne of sugarcane. What the Tamil Nadu government was offering now was nowhere near the recommended price.

If the sugarcane farmers could not get remunerative prices for their produce they would be forced to shift crops, thereby further reducing the area under sugarcane.

Mr.Giri stated that already there were 37 sugarmills in the cooperative and private sectors and the government had given permission to start another nine sugarmills.

If all these mills became operational there would certainly be shortage of sugarcane, thus, making the sugar sector unviable.

Therefore, to be fair to the sugarcane farmers the Consortium had requested the government to increase the procurement price to the level as recommended by the CACP, Mr.Giri added.