Sugarcane growers demand increase in price

Berhampur: Sugarcane growers in Odisha`s Ganjam district today urged the authorities of Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Limited (ACSIL) to procure sugarcane at Rs 2500 per quintal this year at field level.

The factory authorities had paid Rs 2000 per quintal of sugarcane in the last crushing season to farmers. Sugarcane farmers want the announcement of the cane price should be made before the commencement of the crushing, which is likely to start from the first week of December.

"Due to increase of price of almost all commodities, the rate of sugarcane needs to be raised to bailout the farmers from the loss," general secretary of Ganjam district sugarcane growers association Samir Pradhan said.

At a meeting of sugarcane growers at Aska, about 40 km from here, president of the association and former MP D K Panda, Rajya Sabha MP Renubala Pradhan and Lok Sabha member from Aska Nityananda Pradhan supported the demand for raising the price of sugarcane.

Both the MPs said more and more farmers in the district would come forward to grow sugarcane if they get profit from the crop. It would also help the factory to run more days and to produce more sugar, they said.

Sugarcane area in the district was drastically reduced in the last several years, when the farmers have switched over to other crops to get more a profit making crop.

About a decade ago, sugarcane was raised in around 10,000 acres of land in the district. It, however, reduced to 7282 acres last year, official sources said. "Since sugarcane growers are not getting profit from the crop, they are no more interested to grow sugarcane," Panda said.