Govt yet to announce SAP for sugarcane

| | Lucknow
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Govt yet to announce SAP for sugarcane

Thursday, 26 January 2023 | PNS | Lucknow

Even as the current cane crushing season 2022-23 is close to halfway mark, the Uttar Pradesh government is yet to announce the state advisory price (SAP) for sugarcane. The sugar mills are paying the cane farmers as per the SAP fixed for the last cane crushing season 2021-22.

"Nothing can be ruled out," said UP Cane Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, deepening the suspense over the delay in announcement of a revised cane price.

He said that a meeting would be convened soon to take a formal decision on the SAP. The issue has been attaining political colours with the opposition parties including the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal combine attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party government for not announcing the SAP.

Official sources indicated that SAP for sugarcane was unlikely to be announced in the current crushing season. The sources said that a hike was expected in the 2023-24 crushing season, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election. The SAP for sugarcane in Uttar Pradesh is the third highest in the country after Haryana and Punjab.

Sugar mills started the cane crushing in November and are making payment to farmers according to the SAP decided for the 2021-22 season. “If the government still decides to increase the SAP over the next few days, it will be announced and farmers will also be paid arrears for the revised rates,” said a Sugar Industry and Cane Development department official.

In 2021, the UP government had announced a hike in the SAP for sugarcane in September, over a month before the crushing season started and ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections that were held in March 2022. The UP government had then announced an increase of Rs 25 per quintal in the SAP. After the hike, the revised SAP was Rs 350 per quintal for the early variety of sugarcane, Rs 340 per quintal for the general variety and Rs 335 per quintal rejected variety.

In December 2022, a delegation of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Apolitical), a farmers’ organisation, had met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow and urged him to announce the SAP for sugarcane with a hike of Rs 50 per quintal vis-a-vis the SAP of the previous season.

Rashtriya Lok Dal, which counts west UP’s sugarcane farmers among its support base, has launched a ‘Kisan Sandesh Abhiyan’ to send letters signed by sugarcane farmers to the chief minister demanding the announcement of the SAP.

“There is a target to send over one lakh letters to the chief minister and almost 10,000 letters have already been sent. The state government must clarify at which rate it is purchasing the crop from farmers,” said RLD spokesperson Anil Dube.

According to the data of the Sugar Industry and Cane Development department on its website, over 356 lakh tonnes of sugarcane has been crushed in the mills in the state so far, producing 32.20 lakh tonnes of sugar. A payment of Rs 6,343 crore has been made against the crop procured from farmers as on January 3, the website states. During the 2021-22 season, over 1,016 lakh tonnes of sugarcane was crushed against a payment of Rs 33,421 crore.

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