Sugarcane farmers demand higher FRP for 2021-22

Kurubur Shanthakumar  

Sugarcane farmers in the State have sought an increase in the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for the crop commensurate with the cost of cultivation for 2021-22.

The FRP for the current year is yet to be announced but the cultivators say they are in dire straits owing to increase in the input and cultivation cost per tonne of sugarcane. The cost varies from around ₹3,200 to ₹3,500 against which the FRP for 2020-21 was ₹2,850 and is perceived to be grossly inadequate.

The State is among the top sugarcane producers in the country, after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. During 2021, the State brought more than 5.69 lakh hectares under sugarcane cultivation and produced 400 lakh tonnes, as per the government statistics. It is proposed to increase the area to 6.68 lakh hectares in the current year. But farmers aver it would be difficult to meet the target unless there was incentive by way of an assured price which at least met the cost of cultivation.

“There are labour issues owing to the pandemic in rural areas and this will have a bearing on both sowing and harvesting in the next cycle unless the government announces a price which is both fair and remunerative’’, said Kurubur Shanthakumar, President, Karnataka Sugarcane Cultivators Association.

He said the price fixation based on sugar recovery per tonne of cane crushed was also not favouring the farmers in the absence of a transparent mechanism to ascertain the veracity of the statistics put out by sugar mills. “The mills tend to under quote the actual recovery of sugar to avoid additional payment and farmers suffer financially.”

The second wave of the pandemic saw a surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the rural areas and people are being advised to be cautious of a possible third wave which can result in labour problems during harvesting, fear the farmers.

“The yield will decline if sugarcane remains unharvested beyond a certain period and this will have a negative bearing on the farmers’ income,’’ said Atahalli Devaraj, a member of the association and a sugarcane farmer near Bannur.

Hence the association called for early commencement of sugar crushing activity so as to help avert a possible financial crisis for the farmers.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 6:41:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sugarcane-farmers-demand-higher-frp-for-2021-22/article34884702.ece

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