Farmers, mill owners still at odds over sugarcane priceThe second meeting between sugarcane farmers and sugar producers has ended without making much headway on the price of sugarcane.
The second meeting between sugarcane farmers and sugar producers has ended without making much headway on the price of sugarcane.
With the sugarcane crushing season round the corner, many farmers in the district are a worried lot.
The floor price of sugarcane has been traditionally fixed by farmers and sugar mills. The cane price is normally determined in Nepal based on the price offered by Indian mills to farmers—the provision often flares up tensions between the two sides each harvest season.
Kapil Muni Mainali, president of the Sugarcane Producers Association, said that the second meeting remained inconclusive as sugar producers refused to meet farmers’ demand to increase the price of sugarcane.
The price of sugar has increased by Rs20 a kg this year and the farmers have been demanding to increase the price of sugarcane in that ratio, he said.
During the meeting, the sugar producers had proposed new cane prices based on the rate that Riga Sugar Mill in Bihar, India provided to farmers. Normally, traders fix the sugarcane rates based on the prices of Indian sugar mills. The Riga Mill has fixed the farm gate price at Rs 448 per quintal for this year’s harvest.
Adding Rs65 to the floor price—a VAT refund scheme—offered by the government to the farmers would require sugar mills in Nepal to pay Rs513 per quintal. It was set at Rs460 per quintal last year.
The proposed sugarcane price is a little higher than that of last year. However, the farmers are demanding a hike of Rs 140 per quintal, claiming that an increase of Re1 on a kilo of sugar warrants an increase of Rs 7 per quintal of sugarcane. Although the price of sugarcane has been dropping for the last four years, the farmers said the sugar price could surge due to poor cane harvest this season.
The two parties are set to meet for the third round of talks next week. “If the talks did not yield results in the third meeting, farmers have decided to initiate further talks in conveniorship of the government representatives,” said Mainali.
Meanwhile, the government has been taking time to announce the minimum support price (MSP) of sugarcane. The Ministry of Agricultural Development had recently informed the Parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resource Committee that the floor price of sugarcane would be set up to protect the farmers from a possible fall in price.