Amit Savat, a younger farmer in Maharashtra’s Sangli, is apparent about the crop he wants to plant this Kharif time. He favours sugarcane. “I want to recuperate losses,” he says, soon after possessing endured hefty losses rising vegetables in excess of the earlier just one-and-a-half many years.
The Covid pandemic is just one key cause for the losses endured by vegetable growers in his region. Like Savat, lots of growers in his region have shifted from cultivating grapes to planting sugarcane.
Pandurang Chavan, a farmer from the Kolhapur region in Maharashtra, bets that “sugarcane is the safest crop in the existing times of Covid”.
“Cultivation prices for other crops have multiplied and unseasonal rains, closure of markets, cost of pesticides, labour availability and affordability have remained key difficulties for farmers,” he says, justifying his lead to to change to sugarcane planting this calendar year.
Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad says that far more farmers are shifting to sugarcane cultivation mainly because of guaranteed income.
“Sugarcane is comparatively a greater crop compared with many others with very good returns. It is even a lazy crop as after you plant and slash the cane you can be guaranteed the mills will invest in,” says Praful Vithalani, Chairman, All India Sugar Traders Affiliation (AISTA).
An edge in the circumstance of planting sugarcane is that growers want not stress. “It is the mills that want to stress about promoting sugar,” says Vithalani.
Ganpatrao Sawant, director of Sangli-based mostly Vasantdada Sugar Cooperative, concurs with the AISTA chairman. “There is uncertainty in the market in view of the enormous stocks sugar mills have. They have to begin the crushing time, but there are lots of mills that may encounter a monetary disaster to begin crushing the future time. Glut in sugarcane production will incorporate to the difficulties of farmers and millers,” he says.
In shorter, the “safest” and “lazy” crop tag for sugarcane will probable guide to larger planting this kharif.
Stand-on your own ethanol crops
The Centre’s policy to allow stand-on your own ethanol crops and the insistence on they spend fair and remunerative cost (FRP) to farmers may possibly also really encourage them to get up sugarcane farming far more significantly, says an Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Affiliation formal.
The reality that sugar exports have been very good this calendar year in addition to the continual raise in the production of ethanol could be favourable for planting sugarcane, he says.
With Uttar Pradesh going to the polls future calendar year, the Condition governing administration would be far more prompt in making certain mills spend farmers on time as it would not want to antagonise these types of a large vote financial institution on the eve of the polls.
In Karnataka, the third premier sugar-producing state, sugarcane output is probable to raise by about 5 per cent aided by larger h2o availability and very good pre-monsoon showers during the summer months months.
RB Khandagave, Director, S Nijalingappa Sugar Institute in Belagavi, said the crop issue in Karnataka is very good and the output would be larger by about 5 per cent.
Aside from very good h2o availability, there is no report of pests assault or sickness, which should really help the production, he said.
Khandagave said the roadmap for ethanol mixing introduced by the Centre will deliver a significant enhance for cane cultivation in Karnataka.
Vithalani says that sugarcane draws farmers as Indian growers are paid thirty-35 per cent far more than growers in countries these types of as Thailand.
Rahil Shaikh, Managing Director of MEIR Commodities-India, said that the sugarcane crop would be a little larger than final calendar year. “Sugarcane planting is on the verge of completion. We will get to know the actual closer to the peak monsoon interval, but we hope larger acreage in Maharashtra and Karnataka,” he said.
Maharashtra, UP circumstance
This time to September, sugar mills in Maharashtra have produced 106.three lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar soon after crushing one,012 lakh tonnes of cane with the crushing ending lately.
In accordance to the Sugar Commissioner Business office, farmers in Maharashtra cultivated sugarcane on eleven.42 lakh hectares compared with 8.22 lakh hectares in 2019-twenty. An estimated 12 lakh hectares may occur less than sugarcane with most gains coming from central Maharashtra.
Kolhapur and Pune areas dominate sugarcane cultivation in the Condition. These two areas crushed 46 per cent of the sugarcane to generate 50 per cent of the full sugar in Maharashtra in 2020-21.
In Uttar Pradesh, farmers planted sugarcane in excess of 23.98 lakh hectares this time, marginally larger than 2019-twenty. “We however do not know how a lot region will be protected this calendar year. The survey is going on and we will get to know by early July,” said the UPSMA formal.
Until Might 31, Uttar Pradesh mills have produced about a hundred and ten lt of sugar for the existing time that began in October.
Dilemma of arrears
Sugarcane acreage in Karnataka is probable to be the exact as that of final calendar year or see a marginal dip, said Kurubur Shantakumar, President of Karnataka Cane Growers Affiliation.
Sugarcane is cultivated on 10 lakh acres in the Condition, he said.
Mills in Karnataka crushed about 353.45 lakh tonnes of cane during the existing time, Khandagave said. Another twenty per cent of the cane was diverted to generate jaggery as effectively for seed needs.
If there could be any trouble with regard to sugarcane acreage, it is the money that mills owe to farmers who supplied sugarcane.
In Maharashtra, mills have paid a net FRP of ₹22,043.13 crore or 94.fifty two per cent of the full payable FRP. Mills have to spend ₹1,277.44 crore to farmers as of June two.
On the other hand, the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar factories Constrained has expressed issue in excess of mills in the Condition promoting sugar under minimum amount promoting cost of ₹3,a hundred per quintal. This has led to paucity of cash, which could impact payment to growers future time.
In Karnataka, the cane arrears are to the tune of in excess of ₹1,000 crore for the existing time, whilst there is an exceptional of ₹300-400 crore from the prior many years, Shantakumar said.
The outlook of a larger sugarcane production arrives at a time when this season’s sugar production has been estimated at 32.8 million tonnes (mt) with in excess of two mt going toward ethanol production. Past time, production was 27.4 mt.
The USDA has projected that Indian sugar production future time would be yet another two mt larger, but it would end result in India carrying ahead a larger stock than the eleven mt projected this calendar year.
The Indian sugar sector has been buoyed by governing administration policy that gave transportation and other guidance for exports. This has served exports contact 6 mt this time compared with five.seven mt final time.
The Centre arrived with a package deal that served each and every tonne of sugar exported to get ₹6,000 as guidance compared with an ordinary ₹9,750 final time.
The Union Federal government is estimated to have used about Rs three,500 crore this time as export guidance compared with ₹6,250 crore final time.
“Government policy will be the crucial to the sugar industry’s fortunes and growers’ welfare,” said MEIR Commodities’ Shaikh.
Execs and downsides
Whilst sugarcane is an uncomplicated crop to expand, it has its own professionals and downsides. The crop guzzles h2o. For illustration, farmers in h2o-starved Maharashtra use trillions of litres of h2o to cultivate sugarcane.
Nevertheless sugarcane accounts for only 4 per cent of the full cropped region in the western Condition, it consumes 70 per cent of the full h2o employed for irrigation.
In accordance to the Fee for Agricultural Prices and Price ranges (CACP), in excess of two,500 litres of h2o is eaten to generate a kg of sugar.
Also, sugarcane growers presently fetch one.18 times return on their financial investment if the cane is planted. In circumstance of ratoon crop, which is actually reducing the stem and leaving the root element intact, the growers fetch a return of two.8 times their financial investment.
The CACP has said that the ordinary net return for sugarcane growers is 10 times the realisation of cotton and gram place with each other.
With inputs from Radheshyam Jadhav, Pune Vishwanath Kulkarni, Bengaluru Tv set Jayan, New Delhi and Subramani Ra Mancombu, Chennai)
(This is element of a series of Kharif Outlook stories that have been showing up in these columns since final 7 days. The stories will proceed to show up in excess of the future few days.)