Sugarcane sold as 'fodder' in Madhya Pradesh

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Indore, Feb 7: Low purchase price of sugarcane offered by the sugar mill owners has compelled farmers in Madhya Pradesh to sell their produce as fodder.

If such a situation continued, farmers would prefer destroying their crops in the field than to take it to the mills, say reports from Badwani and Khargone in western MP, adding the sugar mills offered only Rs 90 per quintal forcing the farmers to sell sugarcane as fodder, which at present cost them Rs 200 per quintal.

According to Badwani District Consumer and Welfare Council Vice President Ambaram Mukati, despite having a bumper crop this year, the sugarcane farmers were in a dilemma. They were getting a lower price much less than what they got last year though the government fixed the Minimum Support Price (MPS)at Rs 81 per quintal.

Mr Mukati said last year the region's two sugar mills - Girdharilal sugar mill and Jawahar Lal Sugar mill- had motivated the farmers to grow sugarcane. The farmers now felt cheated as they were getting low price. Moreover, transporters were not preferring to take their produce to mills as they got engaged for 2-3 days till the clearance from mill.

A report from Kasrawad, a sugarcane growing area of Khargone district, says the farmers were feeding the crop to their cattles instead of selling it at Rs 90 per quintal, as they have been getting nothing after cutting transport charges. It was better to feed it to cattles as fodder cost them Rs 200 per quintal.

Girdharilal Sugar Mill owner Mr Rajesh Agrawal admitted that the situations compelled them to purchase the produce at around MSP Rs 90 per quintal, which was less than the last year. Management of Jawaharlal Coop Sugar Mill said the mills were already bearing losses due to low prices of sugar and they cannot pay much.

It was also feared that due to non-availability of labourers in the coming days of 'Bhagoria' festival around Holi, the farmers may be compelled to burn their crops in the farms itself.

Krishak Jagat Educational Society representative Mr Sachin Bondria said the situation was grim in almost all the other sugarcane growing areas of Burhanpur, Narsinghpur and Jaora.


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