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Lockdown Side Effect: Sugarcane Farmers Are in Trouble Over Absence of Buyers

The current lockdown in India may be good for India to fight against corona but it is definitely not proving to be good for the sugarcane farmers. The sugarcane which previously by this time used to be completely harvested and were sent to the sugar mills are still standing as it is in the fields. Though the government has declared sugarcane crushing an essential service in the lockdown still the farmers are worried about their crop.

According to UP government, 16 sugar mills in the six districts of western UP are still operational and have been ordered by the government to operate until the last load of the sugarcane crop is reached. According to farmers they want to supply their crop to the mill before temperature rises and before the harvesting of the wheat crop starts. Another big problem in their way is the unavailability of labourer due to the coronavirus spread. The demand raised by the sugar mill is currently very low as the pace at which the mill is taking up the sugarcane is very slow and this will create a big problem for the farmer.

The sugarcane dues pending all over UP is more than Rs 12,000 crore and this situation is going on worsening due to slow pace of working of the sugarcane mill. The government has also till now not taken any initiative to give relief to these farmers. Kohlus is a place where sugarcane is crushed to produce jaggery and jaggery powder. Due to the slow pace of the mills, farmers are not able to deliver their crop to Kohlus.

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But about 50 per cent of the Kohlus are closed this time and even those which are open are giving a very low price from Rs 150 to Rs 200 per quintal. The other source of income for these farmers are local sugarcane juice sellers but they offer generally very low price and also due to lockdown their this source of income is also barred.

Mills have their own problem as the industrial work is at a standstill so mills are not able to supply it to industry and thus it has to stock the sugar.