Sugarcane cultivators in India are opposing the government’s decision to revise the fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane from Rs. 2,550 per tonne to Rs. 2,750 per tonne for 2018-19.
The Sugarcane Cultivators’ Association has pointed out that significant increase in the procurement price is linked to a base sugar recovery rate of 10 per cent as against 9.5 per cent, which existed all these years. And this goes against a majority of the farmers in the region where the recovery rate is low.
Earlier, the FRP was Rs. 2,550 for a sugar recovery rate of 9.5 per cent. Now the minimum recovery rate has been hiked to 10 per cent. If the government had retained the recovery norms at 9.5 per cent with the revised FRP of Rs. 2750 per tonne, the farmers would have secured Rs. 2887.50 per tonne because for every increase in recovery by 0.1 percentage point, the FRP will increase by Rs.2.75 per quintal. Instead, they will now get only Rs. 2,750 per tonne.
The association alleged that the hike in recovery rate has been done to help sugar mills and the barons owning them and there was nothing in it for farmers with small land holdings. The FRP is linked to the base sugar recovery rate and the government has periodically enhanced it.
The base sugar recovery rate was increased from 8.5 per cent to 9 per cent in 2005-06 and from 9 per cent to 9.5 per cent in 2009-10. This has been attributed to increase in sugar recovery rate due to high-yielding variety of cane being introduced across the country and consequently a higher sugar yield per tonne, which was pegged at 10.51 per cent in 2016-17.