Amit Savat, a younger farmer in Maharashtra’s Sangli, is evident concerning the crop he desires to plant this Kharif season. He favours sugarcane. “I need to get well losses,” he says, after having suffered heavy losses rising greens over the previous one-and-a-half years.
The Covid pandemic is one main purpose for the losses suffered by vegetable growers in his area. Like Savat, many growers in his area have shifted from cultivating grapes to planting sugarcane.
Pandurang Chavan, a farmer from the Kolhapur area in Maharashtra, bets that “sugarcane is the most secure crop within the present instances of Covid”.
“Cultivation prices for different crops have multiplied and unseasonal rains, closure of markets, price of pesticides, labour availability and affordability have remained main issues for farmers,” he says, justifying his trigger to shift to sugarcane planting this 12 months.
Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad says that extra farmers are shifting to sugarcane cultivation due to assured earnings.
“Sugarcane is relatively a greater crop in contrast with others with good returns. It’s even a lazy crop as when you plant and reduce the cane you will be positive the mills will purchase,” says Praful Vithalani, Chairman, All India Sugar Merchants Affiliation (AISTA).
A bonus within the case of planting sugarcane is that growers needn’t fear. “It’s the mills that want to fret about advertising and marketing sugar,” says Vithalani.
Ganpatrao Sawant, director of Sangli-based Vasantdada Sugar Cooperative, concurs with the AISTA chairman. “There’s uncertainty available in the market in view of the huge shares sugar mills carry. They’ve to start out the crushing season, however there are various mills which may face a monetary disaster to start out crushing the subsequent season. Glut in sugarcane manufacturing will add to the issues of farmers and millers,” he says.
In brief, the “most secure” and “lazy” crop tag for sugarcane will possible result in increased planting this kharif.
Stand-alone ethanol vegetation
The Centre’s coverage to permit stand-alone ethanol vegetation and the insistence on they pay honest and remunerative worth (FRP) to farmers may encourage them to take up sugarcane farming extra significantly, says an Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Affiliation official.
The truth that sugar exports have been good this 12 months apart from the regular improve within the manufacturing of ethanol might be beneficial for planting sugarcane, he says.
With Uttar Pradesh going to the polls subsequent 12 months, the State authorities could be extra immediate in guaranteeing mills pay farmers on time as it will not need to antagonise such an enormous vote financial institution on the eve of the polls.
In Karnataka, the third largest sugar-producing state, sugarcane output is prone to improve by about 5 per cent aided by increased water availability and good pre-monsoon showers through the summer time months.
RB Khandagave, Director, S Nijalingappa Sugar Institute in Belagavi, mentioned the crop situation in Karnataka is sweet and the output could be increased by about 5 per cent.
Other than good water availability, there isn’t any report of pests assault or illness, which ought to assist the manufacturing, he mentioned.
Khandagave mentioned the roadmap for ethanol mixing introduced by the Centre will present an enormous increase for cane cultivation in Karnataka.
Vithalani says that sugarcane attracts farmers as Indian growers are paid 30-35 per cent greater than growers in international locations resembling Thailand.
Rahil Shaikh, Managing Director of MEIR Commodities-India, mentioned that the sugarcane crop could be barely increased than final 12 months. “Sugarcane planting is on the verge of completion. We are going to get to know the precise nearer to the height monsoon interval, however we count on increased acreage in Maharashtra and Karnataka,” he mentioned.
Maharashtra, UP state of affairs
This season to September, sugar mills in Maharashtra have produced 106.3 lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar after crushing 1,012 lakh tonnes of cane with the crushing ending lately.
In line with the Sugar Commissioner Workplace, farmers in Maharashtra cultivated sugarcane on 11.42 lakh hectares in contrast with 8.22 lakh hectares in 2019-20. An estimated 12 lakh hectares may come below sugarcane with most good points coming from central Maharashtra.
Kolhapur and Pune areas dominate sugarcane cultivation within the State. These two areas crushed 46 per cent of the sugarcane to provide 50 per cent of the overall sugar in Maharashtra in 2020-21.
In Uttar Pradesh, farmers planted sugarcane over 23.98 lakh hectares this season, marginally increased than 2019-20. “We nonetheless have no idea how a lot space shall be coated this 12 months. The survey is happening and we are going to get to know by early July,” mentioned the UPSMA official.
Until Might 31, Uttar Pradesh mills have produced round 110 lt of sugar for the present season that started in October.
Drawback of arrears
Sugarcane acreage in Karnataka is prone to be the identical as that of final 12 months or see a marginal dip, mentioned Kurubur Shantakumar, President of Karnataka Cane Growers Affiliation.
Sugarcane is cultivated on 10 lakh acres within the State, he mentioned.
Mills in Karnataka crushed about 353.45 lakh tonnes of cane through the present season, Khandagave mentioned. One other 20 per cent of the cane was diverted to provide jaggery as properly for seed functions.
If there might be any downside with regard to sugarcane acreage, it’s the cash that mills owe to farmers who equipped sugarcane.
In Maharashtra, mills have paid a internet FRP of ₹22,043.13 crore or 94.52 per cent of the overall payable FRP. Mills need to pay ₹1,277.44 crore to farmers as of June 2.
However, the Nationwide Federation of Cooperative Sugar factories Restricted has expressed concern over mills within the State promoting sugar under minimal promoting worth of ₹3,100 per quintal. This has led to paucity of funds, which might have an effect on fee to growers subsequent season.
In Karnataka, the cane arrears are to the tune of over ₹1,000 crore for the present season, whereas there’s an excellent of ₹300-400 crore from the earlier years, Shantakumar mentioned.
The outlook of a better sugarcane manufacturing comes at a time when this season’s sugar manufacturing has been estimated at 32.8 million tonnes (mt) with over two mt going in direction of ethanol manufacturing. Final season, manufacturing was 27.4 mt.
The USDA has projected that Indian sugar manufacturing subsequent season could be one other two mt increased, however it will end in India carrying ahead a better inventory than the 11 mt projected this 12 months.
The Indian sugar sector has been buoyed by authorities coverage that gave transport and different help for exports. This has helped exports contact six mt this season in contrast with 5.7 mt final season.
The Centre got here with a bundle that helped each tonne of sugar exported to get ₹6,000 as help in contrast with a mean ₹9,750 final season.
The Union Authorities is estimated to have spent round Rs 3,500 crore this season as export help in contrast with ₹6,250 crore final season.
“Authorities coverage would be the key to the sugar trade’s fortunes and growers’ welfare,” mentioned MEIR Commodities’ Shaikh.
Professionals and cons
Whereas sugarcane is a simple crop to develop, it has its personal professionals and cons. The crop guzzles water. For instance, farmers in water-starved Maharashtra use trillions of litres of water to domesticate sugarcane.
Although sugarcane accounts for under 4 per cent of the overall cropped space within the western State, it consumes 70 per cent of the overall water used for irrigation.
In line with the Fee for Agricultural Prices and Costs (CACP), over 2,500 litres of water is consumed to provide a kg of sugar.
Additionally, sugarcane growers at present fetch 1.18 instances return on their funding if the cane is planted. In case of ratoon crop, which is definitely reducing the stem and leaving the basis half intact, the growers fetch a return of two.8 instances their funding.
The CACP has mentioned that the common internet return for sugarcane growers is 10 instances the realisation of cotton and gram put collectively.
With inputs from Radheshyam Jadhav, Pune; Vishwanath Kulkarni, Bengaluru; TV Jayan, New Delhi; and Subramani Ra Mancombu, Chennai)
(That is a part of a collection of Kharif Outlook stories which have been showing in these columns since final week. The stories will proceed to seem over the subsequent few days.)