Sugarcane in India is a Kharif crop, which runs from April to October.
Current production of Sugar in the country is 26 million tonnes which is a surplus production.
Prices are low due to overproduction and slackening demand.
Farmers are committing suicides for not getting arrears from sugar mills in due time.
There are alternatives to sugarcane for producing sugar, like Khandsari and Gur.
Govt incentives to farmers and sugarcane mills
Direct subsidy to farmers
The sugar mills collectively owe the cane growers roughly 21,000 crores. They were given a period of 1 year moratorium on interest payments to govt.
The direct subsidies will be given to those farmers who are attached to those mills that have
Govt gave a subsidy of 4,000/- per quintal for exports in the last year.
It has set a target of 40 lakh tonnes of sugar export to make our it globally competitive.
Then, domestic demand and price of sugar would go up benefiting cane growers. But the WTO has objections to export subsidies.
Mandatory ethanol blending with petrol is raised to 10%, so that demand for sugarcane products will increase.
Govt is setting up a national grid for ethanol blended petrol, and the sugar mills would be attached to that grid.
India is a net importer of oil (almost 75%). By blending ethanol, we can reduce our oil imports.
Sugar mills can transform to captive power plants using ethanol as a source and produce power to earn extra money.
Brazil has successfully implemented this ethanol blending program.
Shift to pulses?
Sugarcane requires high moisture content in the soil. It can be grown on almost any type of soil. Only requirement is that soil should be kept alkaline and acidic.
Sugarcane is the 3rd highest commercial crop in India, after paddy and wheat.
Farmers get remunerative prices on sugarcane – Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) and State Advisory Price (SAP).
Moreover, the residue fodder from sugarcanes can be fed to animals. The milch and draught animals can also be sustained with the sugarcane products.
Pulses are grown mostly on dry zones which are usually rain fed. There is uncertainty. Hence, farmers are reluctant to shift to pulses.
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