India’s top sugar producer Uttar Pradesh has kept the state-advised price (SAP) of the common variety of sugarcane unchanged at Rs 315 per quintal for the current 2019-20 crushing season.
Sugarcane farming is done by nearly four million farmers in UP, The composite annual sugar economy is estimated at more than Rs 40,000 crore, spanning sugar, power cogeneration, and ethanol.
The SAP for early and unsuitable cane varieties have also been held at Rs 325 and Rs 310 per quintal respectively.
This is the second successive year that the Adityanath government has kept cane prices unchanged. It had hiked the price by Rs 10 per quintal for the common variety in its maiden year in office, during the 2017-18 sugar season.
Farmers had demanded an increase in the cane price to more than Rs 400 per quintal, citing a hike in farm input costs, such as diesel, labour wages, and fertilisers.
However, the private millers, which number 94 in UP, had expressed their inability to pay even at the existing SAP levels owing to low sugar realisation, muted exports, and market glut. They had indicated that higher SAP would only result in farmers’ outstanding as the crushing season advances.
Currently, the farmers’ arrears for the previous 2018-19 crushing season are worth more than Rs 3,000 crore, primarily on the private mills.