Sugarcane farmers in Andhra Pradesh have opposed the support price suggested for sugarcane at Rs 1,700 a tonne for the 2012-13 season.
“They have increased the cane price by 17 per cent. But the cost of cultivation has gone up by 100 per cent. We are spending Rs 1.25-1.50 lakh for an acre. We get an average yield of 30 tonnes, which is translating into over Rs 4,000 a tonne,” Mr N.S.V. Sharma, Secretary of Federation of Sugarcane Growers’ Associations, told Business Line.
“We wonder why they have suggested Rs 1,700 a tonne, when the factories paid Rs 2,200-2,500 last year. We definitely would require at least Rs 3,500. We have been demanding for this price for the last two years. But what we got is far less,” he said.
With sugarcane farming being not profitable, farmers are shifting to other crops. There is a significant drop in sugarcane plantation. Farmers say, the area would comedown further in the next two years as ratoon crop gives way to other crops. (Sugarcane continues to grow two-three times more after it is harvested.)
Farmers point out at the reduction in new plantations and increase in ratoon. Figures compiled from different factory areas have put plantations lower at 66,404 hectares in 2011-12 as against 69,000 ha in the previous year, down by 4 per cent.
The ratoon area, however, went up by 2 per cent to 1.10 lakh ha (1.07 lakh ha).
Though the Agriculture Action Plan prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture speaks of different figures, the total area there too shows a decline for 2012. The plan pegs the area at 2 lakh ha from 2.19 lakh ha last year. This, the farmers, said could lead to a situation where factories would find it difficult to crush to their full capacities.