Closure of sugar mill hits farmersSugarcane farmers are worried about the non-operation of Reliance Sugar Mill, which is the sole buyer of the raw material produced in Bara and Parsa districts.
Sugarcane farmers are worried about the non-operation of Reliance Sugar Mill, which is the sole buyer of the raw material produced in Bara and Parsa districts.
Last year too, the mill based in Manaharwa, Bara, had not bought sugarcane from the farmers, forcing the latter to sell their produce to Indian mills at cheaper rates.
“Farmers will once again have to incur huge losses if government does not fix the sugarcane price and create an environment for the reopening of closed mills,” said Chhathu Shah, a farmer from Bhediyari Gadiyani of Parsa, adding some farmers, frustrated with the losses, even uprooted sugarcane plants last year.
Even if the mill reopens, supplying sugarcane will be challenging amid transportation problems due to the prolonged Tarai unrest and an acute fuel shortage as a result of India-imposed trade blockade. Supplying the produce to Indian mills too is not an easy task. Last year, the farmers had to seek cooperation from the Indian Embassy and Consulate General Office in Birgunj after they faced obstructions from India’s Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) while transporting sugarcane to Indian mills.
Last year, Indian mills had purchased sugarcane at Rs400 per quintal, which was less than Rs476 they received from Reliance Sugar Mill. This year too, middlemen are trying to lure the farmers to sell their produce to Indian mills at cheaper rates.
District President of Sugarane Farmers Struggle Committee Saharoom Raut Gaddhi said the farmers could not cultivate sugarcane by taking risks every year. He said the farmers were scheduled to hold a meeting with the mill’s management on Sunday.
The farmers are of the view the unpredictable situation will remain until the closed Birgunj Sugar Mill reopens.
The Baburam Bhattarai-led government had made some efforts to reopen the factory, but the plan did not make any headway.