Cane farmers prefer doing business with Indian millsSugarcane growers located near the Indian border have started selling their harvests to Indian sugar mills as Nepali mills have not been paying them on time.
Sugarcane growers located near the Indian border have started selling their harvests to Indian sugar mills as Nepali mills have not been paying them on time.
The farmers said that they were more comfortable supplying their products to Indian mills as they offer instant cash and the transportation costs are lower.
Agents of Indian sugar mills have been touring the southern plains of Nepal and visiting villages to persuade Nepali farmers to sell their harvests to sugar factories across the border in India.
Indian mills have targeted Nepali farms this year due to a drop in sugarcane output in India.
Ajit Singh, a farmer from Baraudhoran village, said that Indian mills were offering Rs392 (IRs245) per quintal of sugarcane.
“The agents have been visiting the villages for the past week. They have been promising to pay the farmers within a week.”
Many farmers have been selling their sugarcane to Indian mills as they have been having a hard time getting money from Nepali factories.
Singh had sold his sugarcane to Annapurna Sugar Mill last year but has not received payment yet. “I have received payment for four tractor-loads of sugarcane out of the 12 tractor-loads I sold,” he said. Like Singh, there are many farmers waiting to get payment from Nepali mills for the sugarcane they sold last year.
Farmers in Madubani, Balara, Godiata and Dumriya have been selling their cane harvests to Indian mills. Due to easy road access, the transportation costs are lower to send cane to Indian mills.
It costs Rs80 per quintal to transport sugarcane to mills in Nepal while the freight charge to Indian mills is only Rs48 per quintal, farmers said.
Sugarcane farmers have been getting less for their crops despite an increase in production costs, with floor prices dropping by Rs33 per quintal over the last four years.
The floor price of sugarcane for this year has been fixed at Rs448 per quintal. Last year, sugar producers had determined sugarcane prices at Rs461 per quintal. The price was Rs481 four years ago.
Farmers have started losing interest in growing sugarcane due to the falling returns. The sugarcane acreage in Sarlahi had expanded after two sugar mills were set up in the district. However, the fall in prices and delays in payment have hit the farmers hard, and many have been discouraged from continuing to grow sugarcane.