(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 06, 2009
The Issues of Sugarcane Growers
N K Shukla
A large number of sugarcane growers, particularly from western Uttar Pradesh marched to parliament on 19 November and forced the central government to reconsider its decision to do away with SAP (State Advised Price) of sugarcane. Though the rally was called by Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh, a good number of participants were general cane growers, who have been agitating for fair price of their sugarcane and also for the payment of huge arrears pending with various sugar mills. Leaders of nearly all the main opposition parties addressed the agitating farmers. Basudeb Acharia, CPI(M) leader in Lok Sabha addressed the rally. On behalf of All India Kisan Sabha, N K Shukla and Vijoo Krishnan were present.
It is to be recalled that the cane growing farmers are agitating throughout the country for fair price of, since the month of Sepember, which is the beginning of the season. The AIKS units have been organising conventions, deputations, demonstrations, dharnas and padavs before the sugar mills and in cane growing districts of different states, particularly in Uttar Pradesh.
agitation had gathered momentum after 21
October because government of
After the massive protest by the cane growers on 19 November, the government of India has assured to retain the provision of SAP (to be paid by mill owners) but the demand of retaining 5A of the Sugar Control Order 1966 (to share the profit with farmers) is still pending.
coming to the price of Sugarcane for current year, the central
decided Rs 129.84 per quintal as FRP for 2009-10.This meager price announced by the government will not
satisfy the demands of the farmers even if some SAP
is added by the various state
governments. The whole system
of sugarcane pricing has been
unpractical, favouring the sugar mills and is against the interests of
growers. The central government has unilaterally announced the sugarcane prices without consulting
organisations, sugar mills and the concerned state governments.
the recommendations of the National Commission for Farmers headed by Dr
the support price of any
crop should be fixed at C2 +50 percent
margin(double the production cost plus 50 per cent of the cost as
margin/profit). Based on this formula, the CACP calculated Rs 101.32
quintal as the average all
It is to be noted here that the abnormal increase in the market price of sugar in recent months has nothing to do with the price of sugarcane paid to the cane growers last year, which was around Rs 125 to 130 per quintal as an average. In the last one year, the sugar price has almost doubled but that profit is not shared with the cane growers. Moreover huge arrears are still pending with various mills.
The step motherly treatment meted out to cane growers for years has forced the farmers to withdraw from sugarcane cultivation in recent years. It has been estimated that the area of sugarcane growing declined from 5.04 million hectares in 2007-08, to 4.38 hectares in 2008-09 and to 4.26 million hectares in 2009-10. Consequently the sugar production in our country declined from approximately 30 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes in one year. This means that now the production is less than the average demand for sugar in our country which is around 23 million tonnes at present. But the present high increase of sugar price is not due to the decline in acreage of sugarcane cultivation but due to speculation, hoarding and black marketing, which the government committed to neo-liberal policies is unable to control.
The central government has no right to play with the lives of either cane growing farmers or with the general consumers. In this situation, the cane growing farmers have no other option but to fight for real remunerative price and the consumers have to fight for fair price of sugar, while supporting the genuine and just demands of sugarcane growers.