Farmers agree to an advance payment of Rs. 2,450 per tonne

Chief Minister N. Rangasamy chaired the tripartite meeting between Government officials, the Cooperative Sugar Mills and the farmers to fix the price of sugarcane.

The meeting started out lot of heat, but the issue was resolved and it was decided that the farmers would accept an advance payment of Rs. 2,450 per tonne and the actual price would be determined at a later date.

According to sources, the sugarcane farmers, who started out demanding Rs. 3,000 per tonne for the year 2013-14, were pacified when they were promised an advance and discussions at a future date.

At the meeting, the rate for 2012-13 was also fixed. Initially, the sugarcane farmers had received Rs. 2,325 per tonne in 2012-13, and during the meeting they asked for an increase in that rate as well. After some discussion, it was agreed that they would accept an increase of Rs. 50 per tonne in last year’s rate and an additional amount of Rs. 75 per tonne.

This made it a total of Rs. 2,450 per tonne for 2012-13, which would cost the Cooperative Sugar Mill Rs. 2.50 crore extra.

“The main issue is that there is a decrease in high yield sugarcane. Last year we received 2,00,000 tonne of sugarcane, but this year we expect only 1.75 lakh tonne,” an official from the agriculture department said.

According to one of the farmers Kaliyamoorthy, the farmers were expecting at least Rs. 3,000 per tonne for 2013-14, since the cost of production had gone up astronomically.

CPI (M) MLA R. Ramamoorthy, who also attended the meeting, said that the price that is agreed upon only deals with the price of recovery. However, what the sugar mills fail to consider are the by-products.

The price that they fix is expected to cover all of them, which include ethanol, electricity generation and molasses, all of which are extremely useful.

The Raghavan Commission report had recommended that the price be fixed for the by products as well, and while the sugar mills are willing to accept all the other tenets of the report, they ignore this one.

The CPI (M) is also demanding that the Centre accept the M.S. Swaminathan Commission Report on price fixing, which says that the farmers should receive the cost of production and 50 per cent of the returns on the sugar.

Given that the local farmers produce more than sufficient sugarcane for local consumption, the import of sugar should also be stopped, he said.