Aska Cooperative Ltd raises sugarcane procurement price

Berhampur: Odisha’s Ganjam, Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Ltd (ACSIL) has increased the procurement price of sugarcane by Rs 200 per tonne this year.

The oldest sugar industry in cooperative sector in the state had provided Rs 2,280 per tonne of sugarcane last year.

The sugarcane growers in the district were, however, demanding for steps to fix the price at Rs 3,000.

“Considering all aspects, including the financial condition of the factory and the cost factor in sugarcane cultivation, the authorities have decided to increase the price”, Managing Director of the sugar factory Muralidhar Mallick said.

“Due to increase in input costs, we demanded steps to fix the procurement price at Rs 3,000 per tonne”, General Secretary of Ganjam District Sugarcane Grower’s Association Samir Pradhan said.

The factory authorities should provide bonus of Rs 20 per tonne to each sugarcane grower on and above the sugarcane procurement price, he said.

Pradhan said sugarcane growers would show interest to cultivate the crop if the sugar industry provides proper price to them. The factory will run for more days and make profit when the acreage of the sugarcane is increased, he said.

The association has demanded introduction of sugarcane crop insurance taking panchayat as a unit.

The sugarcane cultivation area in the district has reduced drastically in last couple of years as the farmers have switched over to other crops.

They found sugarcane was no more a profit-making crop, said Vice-president of the association Narayan Jena.

Around a decade ago, sugarcane was grown on 12,000 acres, but it has gone down to 6,000 acres, he said.

Processing of the sugarcane is scheduled to start from second week of next month. The factory authorities have targeted to crush around 80,000 metric tonnes of sugarcane this year’s 98,000 metric tonnes, factory sources said.

“We have lowered the target this time because the coverage of sugarcane has come down”, Mallick said.