Sugar mills agree to buy sugarcane at Rs 531 per quintal

Kathmandu, December 15

Sugarcane farmers and operators of sugar factories have mutually determined the price of sugarcane at Rs 531.20 per quintal for the time being till the government fixes a minimum purchase price of the crop for the ongoing fiscal year.

A meeting between the two parties on Thursday agreed that sugar mills will purchase sugarcane from farmers at the above-mentioned rate until the government fixes the actual rate. Following the agreement to this effect, farmers have also started harvesting sugarcane.

“As the sugarcane plants that have ripened have already started getting damaged in the farms following the government’s delay in fixing the minimum purchase rate of the crop, we were obliged to agree to sell sugarcane at the aforementioned rate to sugar mills,” said Kapil Muni Mainali, president of Nepal Sugarcane Producers Federation.

Similarly, sugar mills also agreed to start purchasing sugarcane from farmers citing that the delay in sugarcane crushing will affect sugar production.

However, both sugar factories and sugarcane farmers have said that the aforementioned price is not scientific and the government has to set a scientific price of sugarcane as soon as possible.

Citing the rise in production cost of sugarcane, farmers have been demanding at least Rs 560 per quintal for the crop this year. However, sugar mills have been rigid at Rs 510 per quintal for sugarcane citing the plummeting price of sugar globally.

Last year, the government had set sugarcane price at Rs 531 per quintal.

Meanwhile, the current care-taker government is unlikely to set the sugarcane price any time soon and sugarcane farmers and sugar mills will have to wait until the formation of a new government.

Admitting that it’s already late to set the purchase price of sugar this year, Yogendra Karki, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), said, “However, as this process is also related to the Ministry of Supplies and the current care-taker government might not take major decisions, sugarcane price fixation process might be delayed further.”

As per practice, MoAD recommends the price of sugarcane to MoS and the latter takes the proposal to the Cabinet.