Day 43 – Q 1. What are the problems being faced by the sugarcane farmers in India? How are these problems being tackled by the government? Discuss.
1. What are the problems being faced by the sugarcane farmers in India? How are these problems being tackled by the government? Discuss.
भारत में गन्ना किसानों को किन समस्याओं का सामना करना पड़ रहा है? इन समस्याओं से सरकार कैसे निपट रही है? चर्चा करें।
India is second largest producer of sugarcane after Brazil and Sugarcane accounts for 6.0 percent of the total value of agriculture output in India. Over the years production has continuously increased. However, sugarcane farmers still face many problems.
Problems faced by sugarcane farmers
- Monoculture of sugarcane i.e. lack of crop rotation in some areas, leads to deletion of nutrients in soil and adversely affect cane productivity.
- Post-harvest deterioration in cane quality on account of staling and delayed crushing contributes to low sugar recovery.
- An irregularity in availability of water is other major issue in cultivation of sugarcane crop.
- Inadequate availability of quality seed of new sugarcane varieties and poor seed replacement rate adversely affect the realization of potential cane yield of varieties.
- The average yield of sugarcane is around 50 tons/hectare only which is much lesser when compared to other nations such as 70 tons/hectare in Brazil or 100 tons/hectare in Hawaii.
- Further reduction in yield of sugarcane due to rise in temperature.
- The technology used by sugar mills is obsolete and old which make sugar mills economically unviable and due to this farmers benefit get affected.
Sugarcane farmers in India are facing a payments crisis running into thousands of crores.
- Emergence of alternative sweeteners replacing sugar and increasing health consciousness, slowdown in the pace of demand growth while continuous increase in overall production (crossed 30 million tonnes in recent years) has led to demand-supply mismatch.
- While sugarcane is procured at minimum prices declared by Government (Fair and Remunerative Price- Central Government, State Advised Price- State Government), market forces determine the price of sugar. Demand-Supply mismatch has caused fall in sugar prices which makes it difficult for Sugar Mills to clear payments of farmers.
Recent Government measures to address the issue:
- The Centre announced a relief package of Rs 8000 crore between May-June 2018. It attempts to push ethanol production and increase sugar prices by creating shortage through mandating artificial sales quotas.
- To tackle price crash, the government has now fixed minimum selling price of white/refined sugar at Rs 29 per kg.
- To curb import of sugar, the government has increased custom duty from 50 per cent to 100 per cent. Similarly, to boost export, it has withdrawn the custom duty.
- Build a 3 million tonne stockpile of sugar to soak up excess supply from the domestic market.
Though recent measures are welcome, long term solution would be to deregulate sugar sector as recommended by Rangarajan Committee with equal focus on improving infrastructure, credit facility and extension services.
Best answer: NKY