Slow start to sugarcane crushing season in Maharashtra amid Diwali, ongoing farmers’ protests

Kolhapur: In the state, farmer organizations have initiated a protest regarding the sugarcane prices, with a demand for an additional payment of Rs 400 per tonne for the last season. Ahead of the Diwali festival, the commencement of the sugarcane season in the state has been rather sluggish.

According to sources within the Sugar Commissioner’s Office, the licensing process for sugar mills is expected to conclude within a week, and there is anticipation of increased cane crushing post-Diwali. Due to a lack of rainfall this year, there are concerns about reduced sugarcane production as compared to the previous two seasons.

As of now, 137 sugar mills have received licenses out of the 217 that have applied for sugarcane licenses for the 2023-24 season. However, there are still 80 proposals from sugar mills pending approval. Dr. Chandrakant Pulakundavar, the Sugar Commissioner, stated that the issuance of sugarcane crushing licenses to the concerned sugar mills would be contingent upon settling any outstanding amounts related to the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) and other dues with the sugarcane board.

For the upcoming sugarcane season, an estimated 1,078 lakh tonnes of sugarcane will be available in the state. Owing to the shortage of sugarcane, it is expected that the sugarcane season in the state will last for only three months. This has raised concerns among millers in Maharashtra, who fear of cane being transported to sugar mills in Karnataka for crushing.

Recently, around 20 sugar mills in Kolhapur district have jointly issued an appeal to farmers, urging them to ensure a consistent and uninterrupted supply of sugarcane for the ongoing crushing season. The mills contend that a steady supply is crucial to prevent financial complications and ultimately benefit the farmers. This collective statement comes ahead of a gathering of sugarcane farmers organized by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), led by former Member of Parliament Raju Shetti, in Jaysingpur.

In their joint statement, the sugar mills unequivocally state that they are unable to offer more than the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) set by the central government. The FRP for the current sugarcane season stands at Rs 3,150 per tonne for a 10.25% sugar recovery rate. The mills are willing to adhere to this rate based on sugar recovery.


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