Farmer body opposes move to bring in staggered FRP payments

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April 27, 2021 2:00 AM

Earlier this month, Maharashtra sugar millers had advocated adopting the Gujarat model for payment against the purchase of sugarcane and to begin the practice of payment in three stages during the sugar season.

The Centre has constituted a high-level committee to look into a recommendation made by the Niti Aayog to implement a model of staggered payments to sugarcane growers and has asked state governments to submit their suggestions on this issue.The Centre has constituted a high-level committee to look into a recommendation made by the Niti Aayog to implement a model of staggered payments to sugarcane growers and has asked state governments to submit their suggestions on this issue.

Farmer body Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) has warned the Maharashtra government against supporting the Centre’s proposal to offer staggered fair and remunerative price (FRP) payments to farmers.

The Centre has constituted a high-level committee to look into a recommendation made by the Niti Aayog to implement a model of staggered payments to sugarcane growers and has asked state governments to submit their suggestions on this issue. Gujarat follows this model for making cane payments to farmers.

“The Centre has called for suggestions from the state governments. The Centre has already passed three farm laws which are not in the interest of farmers. The state government has also constituted a panel to study this issue. However, the committee does not have any farmer representatives,” Raju Shetty, founder of the SSS, said. Shetty warned that his organisation will be forced to take action and come down on the streets if the Maharashtra government submits suggestions in favor of the recommendations made by the Niti Aayog.

Earlier this month, Maharashtra sugar millers had advocated adopting the Gujarat model for payment against the purchase of sugarcane and to begin the practice of payment in three stages during the sugar season.

According to the Niti Aayog, if farmers are paid 60% of the sugarcane FRP upfront, it will cover their entire A2+FL (farm labor) cost, along with providing a little margin over the same. The ‘A2’ cost for farmers covers all paid-out costs that are directly incurred by the farmer on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, hired labor, leased-in land, fuel, irrigation, etc, whereas A2+FL cost includes the A2 cost along with the value of unpaid family labour.

According to the latest arrears report, factories in the state still owe farmers Rs 2,073.05 crore in FRP dues. Mills have so far paid Rs 19,286.65 crore, amounting to 90.29% of the total FRP payments, to farmers this season. The total FRP payable to farmers is Rs 21,359.69 crore. The sugar commissionerate has taken action against 19 mills for their failure to FRP payments.

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