Maharashtra sugar mills pay up 84.14% cane arrears to farmers in current season

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Published: February 11, 2020 3:45:01 AM

All India Sugar Traders Association (AISTA) has estimated India’s 2019-20 output at 274 lakh tonne as against 332 lakh tonne achieved in 2018-19.

Around 61 sugar mills have paid 100% FRP to farmers while 77 factories still remain with FRP dues.

Maharashtra has set a good record of making payments to farmers this season. Mills in the state have paid around 84.14% of the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) dues to farmers totalling Rs 4,886.70 crore for the 2019-20 season. Around 15.87% of the cane arrears, amounting to Rs 921.61 crore, still remain to be paid.

The total FRP payable to farmers was Rs 5,808.09 crore, according to the data released by the Office of the Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner. So far, 138 factories in the state have crushed 254.1 lakh tonne of cane and some 37 factories have not paid any FRP to farmers. Around 138 factories have participated in crushing this season and have crushed some 254.2 lakh tonne of cane.

Around 61 sugar mills have paid 100% FRP to farmers while 77 factories still remain with FRP dues. Some 17 factories have paid dues to farmers in the range of 80-99% and 23 factories have made payments in the range of 60-79% while 37 factories have made payments to farmers in the range of 0-59%.

Maharashtra Cane Control Board’s Prahlad Ingole had earlier approached the chief secretary of the state, secretary for cooperation and Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner, seeking 15% interest in dues from those factories that have not made FRP payments to farmers in a single amount.

Ingole had claimed that several factories in Nanded region have not paid farmers FRP in a single amount and are making payments to farmers as per their convenience. Seeking immediate action against such factories, Ingole pointed out that an interest of 15% should be levied on the FRP payments. Not a single factory in Parbhabi, Hingoli, Nanded and Latur districts have paid farmers the total FRP dues and have instead paid small amounts and yet notices have not been issued, which is causing financial distress to farmers, he stated.

According to senior officials in the Commissionerate, around 143 mills had participated in cane crushing, of which 77 were cooperative mills and 66 were private. These mills crushed 371.25 lakh tonne of cane to produce 400.37 lakh quintal of sugar at a recovery of 10.78%. As on date, 4 mills have closed crushing operations, he said.

Meanwhile, the All India Sugar Traders Association (AISTA) has estimated India’s 2019-20 output at 274 lakh tonne as against 332 lakh tonne achieved in 2018-19. AISTA expects a reduction of 10 lakh tonne in sugar production due to diversion of cane to production of B-heavy molasses.

The estimate of 275 lakh tonne is excluding the diversion for ethanol production. The traders’ body expects Maharashtra’s sugar production to fall by 39%. “Sugar production of Maharashtra in 2019-20 is expected to be 42 lakh tonne as against 107 lakh tonne in 2018-19,” AISTA had stated recently.

Similarly, sugar production of Karnataka is expected to fall by 22.7% to 34 lakh tonne due to erratic monsoon. The drought followed by deluge has taken a toll of the sugarcane crop of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

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