Kolhapur: Sugarcane crushing impacted due to protests

Kolhapur, Maharashtra: Sugarcane crushing in Kolhapur has been significantly reduced due to protests and agitations initiated by workers of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), led by former MP Raju Shetti, reported The Times of India.

The officially commenced crushing season on November 1 has been impacted by unmet demands from the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana on behalf of the farmers. Shetti is advocating for a additional Rs 400 per tonne for the sugarcane harvested in the previous season and, for the ongoing season, a price of Rs 3,500 per tonne.

Despite Shetti’s six-day sit-in protest at Jaysingpur, the sugar mills have not yet engaged in discussions for a resolution. The agitations, including the burning of sugar cane-loaded carts, deflating tractor tyres, and forceful halting of harvesting work, have occasionally turned violent.

Shirol and Hatkanangale emerge as the most affected tehsils in the Kolhapur district, with occasional disruptions in sugarcane transport reported from the Sangli and Satara districts. Vijay Autade, a sugar industry expert, expressed concern over the delay in operations, stating that as per our estimate, nearly 50,000 tonnes of sugar cane is not being crushed due to the agitation. This will have a serious impact both on the farmers as well as the mills

Autade highlighted the impact on farmers, as the sugarcane, having surpassed the ripening stage, witnessed a weight decline. Farmers receive compensation based on cane weight and a decrease in weight results in lower prices. Additionally, to achieve a breakeven point, mills are ideally required to operate for 120 days, but this year, due to the scarcity of sugar cane, they are anticipated to operate for less than 90-100 days, with ten days already lost to the ongoing agitation.


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