TAMIL NADU

Sugarcane area likely to stagnate

Tough going: A farmer near Sontyam in Visakhapatnam district taking a cart load of sugarcane to the sugar factory for crushing. —

Tough going: A farmer near Sontyam in Visakhapatnam district taking a cart load of sugarcane to the sugar factory for crushing. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Staff Reporter

Compared to paddy, it takes a longer period for growing and requires more water

VISAKHAPATNAM: The area under sugarcane cultivation in the district is likely to stagnate. In the last season, the area was 36,000 ha, down by 6,000 ha from the normal of 42,000 ha. During the current season also, it is likely to remain more or less the same.

The plantation of sugarcane takes place generally in the month of March and continues till June.

About 40 per cent of the crop is revived by ratoon, the process of reviving the crop from offshoots of the cut sugarcane stumps.

The main reason for farmers not going in for sugarcane in the normal area is said to be mainly it being non-remunerative.

Compared to paddy, it takes a longer period for growing up and cutting and requires more water.

Whereas, the paddy farmers are reaping the benefit in about five months and going in for other crops like pulses, the sugarcane farmers are unable to do so.

Meagre returns

Sugarcane is grown in Anakapalle, Elamanchili, Chodavaram, Narsipatnam and Payakaraopeta areas of the district.

It’s cultivated in almost as much area as paddy. However, the returns are said to be a dampener for sugarcane cultivators.

According to one estimate, on an average yield of 28 tonnes an acre, a farmer makes about Rs.750 a ton after covering all expenses. On the other hand, paddy farmers get an average yield of 25 bags an acre and sell it at Rs.750.

After harvesting the paddy, they go in for pulses followed by sunflower, maize etc. While the normal area of paddy 45,000 ha, only in about 20,000 ha paddy is sown in Rabi depending upon availability of water.

Thus in spite of the spiralling price of jaggery and sugar in the market, based on the returns in comparison the farmers preference appears to be moving away from sugarcane.

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