Sugarcane farmers may shift to jaggery production

R. Krishna Kumar

Low minimum support price for the produce is the reason

The price of one quintal of jaggery is

between Rs. 2,600 and Rs. 3,000

Sugar mills offer only Rs. 1,400 a tonne

of sugarcane

MYSORE: Sugarcane farmers in Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts may shift to jaggery production to cut losses owing to the low minimum support price for the crop fixed by the Government.

The procurement price is reckoned to be less than the production cost.

As against the farmers’ demand for Rs. 1,750 to Rs. 1,800 a tonne of sugarcane, the procurement price offered by sugar mills in the region is between Rs. 1,300 and Rs. 1,400 a tonne. However, the cost of production of one tonne of sugarcane is around Rs. 1,600.

Hence, farmers are contemplating switching over to jaggery production.

Kurubur Shanthakumar, president of the Sugarcane Cultivators’ Association, told The Hindu that a campaign would be launched in the Mysore-Chamarajanagar region soon to urge farmers not to sell sugarcane to mills if there was no increase in procurement price.

“Farmers have rejected the unscientific price mechanism and can no longer be coerced into accepting a price which is below the cost of production,” Mr. Shanthakumar said.

“There are nearly 15,000 sugarcane farmers in Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts. Sugarcane is being cultivated on 40,000 acres of land. If we succeed in persuading farmers not to sell their crop, owners of sugar mills will suffer a loss and come around to appreciate the problems faced by growers,” he said.

It was pointed out that from one tonne of sugarcane, 120 kg of jaggery could be produced.

“The cost of producing one tonne of sugarcane is Rs. 1,600. If farmers switch over to jaggery production, they will incur an additional expenditure of Rs. 600 for converting one tonne of sugarcane which yields one quintal of jaggery. The cost of one quintal of jaggery is between Rs. 2,600 and Rs. 3,000. So, farmers will earn a net profit by switching over to jaggery production instead of suffering a loss by selling sugarcane to mills which offer only Rs. 1,400 a tonne,” Mr. Shanthakumar said.

Even jaggery price had plummeted and was not remunerative. But things had changed in the past two months with the scarcity of sugarcane and growing demand for jaggery, according to the association.

This was in contrast to the situation last year when many “alemanes” or jaggery producing units closed down owing to losses.

The association is confident that a majority of farmers will shift to jaggery production if it is proved that they can cut losses and earn a profit of Rs. 600 to Rs. 1,000 a tonne of sugarcane.

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