Sugarcane growers meet Rahul Gandhi, seek better prices

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) A delegation of sugarcane growersfrom Uttar Pradesh today met Congress General Secretary RahulGandhi and demanded an increase in cane support price to atleast Rs 200 per quintal, besides allowing regular export ofthe sweetner.

"We met Rahul Gandhi today and our main demand was thatthe fair and remunerative price (FRP) should be raised to Rs200 per quintal from the existing Rs 139 per quintal," saidAwadesh Mishra, a former president of the Chairman''sAssociation of Cane Societies of Uttar Pradesh.

FRP, which is fixed by the Centre, is the minimum pricethat sugar mills have to pay to cane farmers. However, some ofthe states, including the country''s second largest sugarproducer UP, fix their own price called state advised price(SAP), which is at present Rs 210 per quintal.

"If the Centre''s FRP is increased to Rs 200 from Rs 139per quintal then the UP government would also have to increaseits support price substantially," Mishra hoped.

He claimed that Gandhi, who is also the Lok Sabha memberfrom Amethi in UP, assured them that he would take up thisissue with the central government.

On exports, the farmers'' body demanded that regularexport of sugar should be allowed.

Initially, the Food Ministry had allowed export of fivelakh tonnes of sugar under Open General License (OGL), butlater decided to refer the matter to an empowered group ofministers (EGOM) on food due to high food inflation.

The delegation also sought uninterrupted supply of goodquality seeds to farmers of UP and other parts of the countryto boost sugarcane production, besides sending a delegation ofsugarcane farmers and scientists to Brazil, Mauritius andMalaysia to help them learn about high yielding technologies.

The delegation also asked that ethanol blending withpetrol should be raised to 10 per cent from the current limitof 5 per cent.

It said Rahul Gandhi promised to take up their request toPrime Minister Manmohan Singh and Agriculture Minister SharadPawar.

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