Tamil Nadu: Farmers in Villupuram refuse to grow sugarcane

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Villupuram: Tired of awaiting sugarcane pending dues, farmers in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu have stopped growing sugarcane and are opting for other crops like paddy. This is likely to impact sugar mills in the region. Farmers Association claims that the millers have not paid around Rs 50 crore of fair and remunerative prices (FRP) to them.

The farmers in Villupuram were mainly focused on sugarcane cultivation but now have changed their crop growing pattern as they alleged that the private sugar mills refused them to pay FRP that have been pending since January 2019.

The farmers staged many demonstrations for pending arrears, but nothing worked in their favour. Cane growers claim that during a meeting by then district Collector L Subramanian, sugar mills assured to pay FRP by June. But the situation has not changed till date.

Kalivardhan, president of All Farmers Association, said, “The continuous struggle for pending arrears helped us to get Rs 10 crore from millers. We are still awaiting for Rs 50 crore. As a result, we have decided not to go for cane cultivation and instead take paddy, urad dal, cowpea, and cassava. The good rain this year has helped in flourishing these crops.”

Due to various reasons, Tamil Nadu sugar industry is in deep crisis, and they are awaiting financial assistance to come on track. Sugar producers from the state have requested a relief package to come out of this grim situation. Drought in the state has impacted the sugarcane production. The cane shortage has affected the mills as many were forced to shut it. Drought impact is likely to persist in season 2019-2020 too.

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