Sugarcane farmers in Bolangir grappling with spectre of distress sale


Bolangir: Sugarcane farmers in Bolangir are facing a hard time after finding themselves in a distress sale situation which is threatening their livelihood.

For most farmers, selling jaggery which is made out of sugarcane has become a loss-making affair as prices have plummeted to Rs 500 from Rs 1100 per a standard tin box.

Left with no option, distressed sugarcane farmers are stocking jaggery in their homes.

“The price per tin box has come down to Rs 500 from Rs 1100. How can we sell at such low prices?” Sabitri Pradhan, a sugarcane farmer said.

Similarly, Asha Sahu, who cultivated sugarcane on 2 acre of land, said that the price offered to her is not even covering the basic labour cost.

“We are making all types of ‘Gurs’ but we are being offered very low prices. Sometimes the prices offered are less than our basic labour cost,” Sahu said.

The condition of the sugarcane farmers has turned worse after the closure of Bijayanand Sugarmill in Bolangir. Farmers have alleged that the government and local administration have turned a blind eye to their problems.

However, Agriculture department officials said that they are doing their best to revive the sugar mill.

“As per information received, government is trying very hard to revive the sugar mill. Once the mill becomes functional, farmers will no longer face issues,” Bolangir deputy director of agriculture, Sridhar Das said.

“We will soon take a decision on how the stocked jaggery will be sold,” Bolangir additional collector, Laxmikant Pyarelal Pradhan said.