Sugarcane farmers plan to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha on October 5

The condemn measly hike in FRP

Sugarcane Growers from across Karnataka are planning to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on October 5 to bring pressure on the Centre to review the ‘measly’ hike announced in the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane from ₹2,850 per tonne to ₹2,900 per tonne.

Arguing that the hike translates to just ₹5 per quintal of sugarcane, the Karnataka Sugarcane Growers Association President Kurubur Shanthakumar accused the Centre of yielding to the pressure of sugar mill lobby and causing injustice to the farmers at a time when the cost of production had increased steeply.

The Centre recently fixed the FRP for sugarcane with a recovery rate of 10 per cent sugar at ₹2,900 per tonne.

Mr. Shanthakumar sought to know from the Centre the logic behind fixing the FRP at ₹2,900 per tonne when the Agriculture Department had estimated the cost of production to be ₹3,200 per tonne. The expenditure incurred by the farmers to pay labourers for harvesting had increased along with the cost of fertilizers and transportation charges, he said.

He wondered how the Centre could fix an ‘unscientific’ FRP for sugarcane after repeatedly increasing the price of petrol and diesel.

Taking the cost of production of ₹3,200 per tonne indicated by the Agriculture Department, the Union Government should add profit and fix the FRP at ₹3,500 per tonne, Mr. Shanthakumar said adding that the farmers from different parts of Karnataka will gather in Bengaluru on October 5 and lay siege to Vidhana Soudha to bring pressure on the Centre.

He said the farmers, who were allegedly being cheated while calculating the recovery rate of sugar and weighing the sugarcane, besides forced to suffer delayed payment, were now subjected to injustice even in terms of FRP.

The Union government, which had promised to double the farmers’ income by 2022, was instead resorting to ‘cheating’ them by offering them a price lesser than the cost of production, he lamented.

He also regretted that the Centre had not yet formulated a policy to share with farmers the profits arising out of producing ethanol and other by-products.

Mr. Shanthakumar also took exception to the government’s failure to include sugarcane among the crops falling under the purview of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bimha Yojane or the Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance scheme. Sugarcane cultivated on 2 lakh acres of land in north Karnataka districts of Belagavi, Bagalkot, Vijayapura, and Kalaburagi is devastated in floods almost every year, leaving the farmers, who are not compensated for the losses, in dire straits.

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