MoAD likely to fix support price of sugarcane at Rs 531 per quintal

Kathmandu, November 28

The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) is set to fix the support price of sugarcane at Rs 531 per quintal for the ongoing fiscal year — continuation of the support price of sugarcane fixed in 2016-17.

Suroj Pokhrel, secretary of MoAD, informed that sugarcane support price will be fixed at the previous year’s rate as there has been ‘no significant change’ in production cost of sugarcane.

“While farmers have been demanding higher rates compared to last year citing increased production charges and sugar mills have been seeking lower rates owing to global decline in sugar price, support price of sugarcane will be set at Rs 531 per quintal,” said Pokhrel.

As per him, the government is currently waiting for the sugarcane farmers and sugar mills to fix the prices on mutual understanding. “MoAD will fix the rate if the two parties fail to reach an agreement within a few days,” he said.

However, both sugarcane farmers and sugar mills are unlikely to find a middle ground in terms of price of sugarcane. Farmers have been demanding Rs 562 for a quintal of sugarcane. Sugar mills, however, have been saying that they are unable to pay more than Rs 510 per quintal for sugarcane citing plummeting sugar price.

While owners of sugar mills were not available for comment, farmers said that sugar mills not only haggle with farmers regarding the price but are also reluctant to issue payments to the farmers promptly.

“It is a bitter truth that many farmers are on the verge of leaving sugarcane farming because they are neither getting reasonable price for their produce nor being paid regularly by the sugar mills. If the government does not take necessary steps to support farmers, sugarcane farming in Nepal is certain to collapse,” said Kapil Muni Mainali, president of Nepal Sugarcane Producers Federation (NSPF).

Sugarcane, a major cash crop, is being cultivated on more than 67,000 hectares of land across the country and its annual production stands at 2.96 million tonnes, as per the MoAD.