Meeting to fix sugarcane price ends inconclusively
- Farmers are demanding at least Rs 560 per quintal but sugar mills do not want to pay more than Rs 510 per quintal
Kathmandu, December 1
The meeting between sugarcane producers and sugar mills held today failed to determine the price of sugarcane for the ongoing fiscal year.
This was the fourth time that the two parties were sitting together to decide on the price of sugarcane.
However, today’s meeting also ended inconclusively as both sugarcane farmers and sugar mill owners refused to budge from their respective rates for sugarcane.
“Sugar mills have been offering us unreasonable price citing fall in price of sugar these days. If we sell sugarcane at their rate, farmers will not even be able to recover their production cost,” said Kapil Muni Mainali, president of the Nepal Sugarcane Producers Federation.
As per Mainali, unreasonable sugarcane price and delay in payment by sugar mills have been discouraging farmers from sugarcane farming in recent years. Farmers have been claiming that many sugar mills are yet to clear their dues to farmers that amount to more than Rs 30 million.
Citing rise in production cost, farmers have been demanding at least Rs 560 per quintal for sugarcane from the sugar mills. However, sugar mills have been rigid about paying no more than Rs 510 per quintal for sugarcane citing the plummeting price of sugar globally.
After both parties had failed to determine sugarcane rate last year, the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) had fixed sugarcane price at Rs 531 per quintal.
Rajesh Kumar Kedia, general secretary of Nepal Sugar Mills Association, said that mills are not in a position to give high rates to farmers as the global sugar price is declining constantly.
“We will give the sugarcane farmers the rates that they are demanding. However, the government should assure that cheaper sugar from foreign countries does not lower the price of sugar in the domestic market,” said Kedia.
Welcoming the government’s readiness to hike import duty on sugar, Kedia said that implementation of the new customs duty will benefit both sugar mills and farmers.
Meanwhile, Kedia opined that the government could again slash import duty on sugar once sugar price starts increasing in the global market in a bid to maintain effective supply of sugar in the domestic market.