Sugar cane: bitter facts

Staff Reporter

Crushing season not encouraging for farmers or millers

SANGAREDDY: Though sugar cane crushing season was almost half the way, the season was not encouraging either to farmers or to millers in Medak district. While farmers were worried that they were not getting fair price for the produce, millers were feeling that they were not able to get minimum required sugar cane for financially viable crushing. Farmers’ going for alternative crops and exporting sugar cane to neighbouring states like Karnataka and Maharashtra have been shown as the reasons for the problems of the millers. On the other hand, farmers were worried about the increasing input cost as well as labour charges. According to sources, out of the 22,000-hectare fertile sugar cane fields in the district, the sugar cane was planted in only 7,000 hectares so far in the season.

Unviable price

“It is costing between Rs. 900 to Rs. 1,100 to produce a tonne of sugar cane including transport costs, where as we are getting only 1,350 per tonne from millers. How can it work out to meet our expenditure?” asked a farmer, Yadagiri. There are three sugar mills – Ganapati Sugars, Trident Sugars and NDSL Sugars Limited- functioning in the district in addition to GSR Sugars based in Nizamabad district. Out of these, the three sugar mills in the district need 13.5 lakh metric tonnes of sugar cane to reach even the minimum capacity. But putting all together, they are able to crush only 9.8 lakh metric tonnes this year.

Rise from next year

“We are tryingto convince and pursue the farmers not to export sugar to other states as it is effecting the production within the state. However, worried about the increase in labour cost after the season, farmers are selling it out. We are making our best efforts. Expecting that the sugar cost would be higher next year, the millers had offered a price of Rs.1,600 per tonne next year to woo farmers,” said Assistant Cane Commissioner K. Rajasekhar.

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