Agri Business

Cane crushing operations delayed in Maharashtra

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on November 19, 2019 Published on November 18, 2019

The cane crushing operations of the sugar mills are expected to commence by November 25. File Photo   -  The Hindu

Farmers’ association demands higher compensation from sugar mills

The cane crushing operations in over 100 sugar mills in the Kolhapur region, Maharashtra has been delayed due to strong protest by the farmers of the political outfit, Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana (SSS).

Last week one of the mills, which had begun the crushing operations by using poor quality sugarcane, was shut after massive protests.

The outfit led by Raju Shetti has been demanding higher compensation per tonnes from the sugar mills. The bonus would be over and above Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of Rs 2,750 per tonnes fixed by the Centre in July.

A final breakthrough might happen on November 23 at farmers' Oosh Parishad (Sugarcane Conference), which is an annual meet of the sugarcane growing farmers in Maharashtra.

Sugar Commissioner of Maharashtra, Shekhar Gaikwad in a brief telephonic interaction with BusinessLine said that the crushing operations of the sugar mills are expected to commence by November 25. The State Government has taken a view that over and about the FRP, the farmers must also receive interests on the delayed payments of the previous years.The cane crushing operations in over 100 sugar mills in the Kolhapur region of Maharashtra has been delayed due to strong protest by the farmers of the political outfit, Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana (SSS).

The SSS has ensured that the mills don’t operate. Last week, one of the mills, which had gone ahead with the crushing operations using poor quality sugarcane, was shut after a massive protest.

The crushing season for 2019-20, should have commenced by Dussehra but it has been delayed by about 45 days due to excess rainfall. It has prevented the farmers from entering their fields. The cutting of sugarcane is a laborious exercise for which large number workers and equipment are required but it cannot be harvested if the fields are water-logged.

An executive with a large co-operative mill in Western Maharashtra said that the industry captains fear that if the agitations continue, then the crop could lose its moisture affecting the sugar recovery rate. Ultimately, it will affect the revenue and profits.

More than FRP

The outfit led by farm leader Raju Shetti has been demanding higher compensation per tonne from the sugar mills. Shetti wants higher bonus from the mills over and above the Centre-fixed Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of ₹2,750 per tonne.

A final breakthrough might happen on November 23 at Oosh Parishad (Sugarcane Conference), an annual meet of the sugarcane growing farmers in Maharashtra.

Shekhar Gaikwad, Sugar Commissioner of Maharashtra, in a brief telephonic interaction with BusinessLine said that the crushing operations of the sugar mills are expected to commence by November 25. The State government has taken a view that over and above the FRP, the farmers must also receive interests on the delayed payments of the previous years.

For the sugar season 2018-19, about 11.62 lakh hectares were covered under the cash crop and 952.11 lakh tonnes of sugarcane was crushed. The average sugar recovery was 11.26 per cent, while sugar production was 107.21 lakh tonnes. Across the State, 195 sugar mills were active.

Shetti was not available for comments.

Published on November 18, 2019
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