Sugar output down amid raw material shortageSugar production at Biratnagar-based Eastern Sugar Mill dropped by 5,000 tonnes this year as a result of raw material shortage.
Sugar production at Biratnagar-based Eastern Sugar Mill dropped by 5,000 tonnes this year as a result of raw material shortage.
The mill produced 12,000 tonnes of the product this year from 134,100 tonnes of sugarcane supplied by farmers. Last year,
the mill had produced 17,200 tonnes of sugar from 187,100 tonnes of sugarcane.
The fall in sugar production has been attributed to a drop in sugarcane output as farmers move away from the cash crop amid poor profitability and delay in payments by the mills.
Lalit Narayan Thakur, manager of the mill, said they recently paid Rs470 million to the farmers in last year’s dues. The farmers are yet to receive more than Rs600 million for their products supplied to the factory this year.
Most of the farmers based in Sunsari and Morang have failed to receive the government’s subsidy (Rs25 per quintal) for last year.
Thakur said the factory could face acute sugarcane shortage next year if the government did not make timely payments
to the farmers. “We have been urging the government to make the payment,” he said.
Golchha Organisation-owned Eastern Sugar purchases sugarcane from 8,000 farmers in Sunsari and Morang. Shailendra Raj Pandey, president of Sunsari-Morang Sugarcane Producers’ Association, said more than 3,000 farmers have moved away from sugarcane farming to other cash crops after they failed to get payments from the mill on time.
The mill had targeted to extend the sugarcane cultivation area to more than 4,000 bighas.
But Shivalal Chaudhary, president of Koshi Sugarcane Producers’ Association, said the area was extended by just four bighas this year.