Agri Business

As mills fail to pay sugarcane FRP, farmers in Maharashtra stake claim to sugar stocks

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on January 16, 2019 Published on January 16, 2019

As sugar mills in the State have failed to pay the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for crushed cane, farmers have staked their claim to sugar stocks in the mills.

Submitting their demand to the Sugar Commissioner, farmers said that each cane grower must get sugar stock according to his pending dues. “Farmers will decide what they want to do with their sugar stock,” said a farmer leader, MP Raju Shetti. Interestingly, the Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said that there was no legal hurdle to fulfil farmers’ demand but they will have to pay GST for sugar.

According to Shetti, it is binding on sugar mills to pay cane farmers after 15 days from the start of crushing season, but two months have passed and mills are not paying farmers the FRP. FRP is a statutory price. The total payable FRP was to the tune of ₹2,500 crore by the end of November according to the government officials.

The FRP is fixed on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) in consultation with State Governments and associations of sugar industry and the cane growers.

“Farmers are ready to accept sugar at the rate of ₹2,900 per quintal the minimum support price for sugar. The Sugar Commissioner must seize sugar stocks from mill godowns and hand it over to farmers. Millers are saying that they cannot pay FRP to farmers because of excess sugar. But many mills which have already sold their stock in the market have not paid dues,” Shetti told reporters.

Excess sugar production and depressed domestic sugar price have led to accumulation of cane price arrears of farmers in sugarcane growing States including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Even as farmers here have resorted to agitations demanding their dues, the Centre has made it clear that it has limited capacity to help the sugar industry.

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Published on January 16, 2019
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