Sugarcane farmers divided over recovering due payment
KATHMANDU, JANUARY 25
While the Sugarcane Farmers’ Struggle Committee (SFSC) has blamed the government for deceiving them on recovering their dues, the Nepal Federation of Sugarcane Producers (NFSP) has welcomed the government’s initiative.
The NFSP held a meeting today in Sarlahi district, where it thanked the government for making an effort to support sugarcane farmers.
“Our federation appreciates the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) for taking the initiative to recover farmers’ payments,” said Kapil Muni Mainali, president of NFSP, adding, “The major objective of today’s meeting was to discuss about the payment problem with local government representatives and find a solution to it.”
Representatives of local governments and farmers from Sarlahi, Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Mahottari and Dhanusha participated in the meeting held at the federation’s office today.
When asked about his view on the farmers’ protest, Mainali said that the government is on the right track and that farmers should support the government. “Farmers should coordinate with the government so that they can get their payments faster. Arresting sugar mill owners and shutting down mills won’t help farmers and will instead affect them in the long run,” he said.
Meanwhile, SFSC members said that they wouldn’t have had to come to Kathmandu to launch their protest if only the federation’s president had taken a serious initiative to resolve their issue. “Earlier, we did hold talks with Mainali about the issue and requested him to pressurise the government and he always assured us that he would do the needful,” committee member Rajesh Yadav said, “However, after the federation failed to take a stand in favour of farmers, we decided to come to Kathmandu to protest on our own.”
Farmers depend on income they receive from their yearly production and are struggling to survive, but their representatives are silent about the problems, Yadav added.
While the federation was holding a meeting with representatives of farmers and local governments along with other stakeholders, the committee held a protest in front of Annapurna Sugar and General Enterprises today. The committee’s protest will continue till January 31.
During today’s meeting, the federation has decided to request the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) to amend the subsidy distribution policy.
“The current policy of MoALD is a hassle for farmers as getting subsidy is a lengthy process.
Moreover, the criteria set by the government to receive subsidy is also not farmer-friendly,”
Mainali said, adding, “We will soon submit our request letter to MoALD.”