Sugarcane FRP inadequate, say farmers

Farmers have expressed their disapproval of the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane fixed by the Centre and aver that it does not meet even the input cost.

The State Sugarcane Cultivators Association president Kurubur Shanthakumar told media persons here on Thursday that the Centre has announced an FRP of ₹2,900 per tonne and this is a nominal increase of ₹50 per tonne based on 10 per cent recovery, over the previous years.

“But the cost of cultivation has increased to ₹3,200 per tonne and we are seeking an FRP which factors in the increase apart from a marginal income for the farmers’’, said Mr. Shanthakumar.

Meanwhile, the Association has also alleged that the farmers tend to be taken for a ride by the sugar factories which consistently cite a lower recovery to deny the farmers their due. Hence the association sought a transparent mechanism in assessment of the recovery rate, which, they suspect, was being fudged by the sugar factories.

Mr. Shanthakumar said that in addition to increasing the FRP, the farmers in the State are yet to receive the arrears of the previous years due to them from the factories and this should be cleared at the earliest. When COVID-19 had already taken a toll on the farmers, the low FRP will only push the cultivators to the brink.

Hence Mr. Shanthakumar called for review and revision of the FRP for sugarcane besides demanding that the cost of transportation of sugarcane from the field to the factory be borne by the latter. The Association also reiterated its long pending demand that the farmers should be given a share in the revenue earned by the factories from the sugarcane by-products as well.

Urging the State Government to open paddy procurement centres at hobli levels, the Association wanted all variety of paddy to be procured by the State and cited the example of Telangana in this regard.

Referring to the Centre’s decision to repeal the three contentious farm laws, Mr. Shanthakumar said this has infused strength and new dynamism to the farmers’ movement in the country. But the agitation which lasted more than an year also saw the death of nearly 700 farmers and the Government should pay compensation to the tune of ₹25 lakh for the family members of each of the deceased, he added.

Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced doubling of farmers’ income by 2022, the situation has come to such a pass that the average monthly income of the farmers is ₹3,700 compared to the daily wagers who earn more. Hence it is imperative for the Centre to ensure statutory guarantee of Minimum Support Price which is also the key demand of the farmers, said Mr. Shanthakumar.

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