Sugarcane production cost set at Rs 303

  • Farmers demand price be sweetened by 40pc
  • Say actual production cost at Rs 425 a quintal

Kathmandu, November 29

The production cost of primary sugarcane crop has increased by nine rupees per quintal this year, according to the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD).

MoAD, on Monday, finalised the production cost of primary sugarcane (main crop) at Rs 303 per quintal for this year. Production cost of primary sugarcane was Rs 294 per quintal last year.

Similarly, production cost of secondary sugarcane (ratoon crop) has also increased by two rupees per quintal this year to Rs 159 per quintal.

“Production cost of primary and secondary sugarcane has been calculated at Rs 303 per quintal and Rs 159 per quintal, respectively,” a high-level source at MoAD told The Himalayan Times, adding that MoAD will recommend the Ministry of Industry to fix the price of sugarcane for this season based on this production cost.

The production cost of the main crop is higher than ratoon crop as investment in main crop is comparatively higher. Ratoon crops grow out of the main crop.

Increase in production cost of sugarcane means that the price of sugarcane will also go up this year. When production cost of primary and ratoon sugarcane crop was Rs 294 per quintal and Rs 157 per quintal last year, the government had fixed sugarcane price at Rs 448 per quintal.

MoI will fix the minimum price of sugarcane for this season based on the new production cost. According to MoAD officials, MoI will have to give 80 per cent weightage to production cost of primary sugarcane and 20 per cent weightage to production cost of ratoon sugarcane while fixing the minimum sugarcane price.

The MoI will fix the rate for sugarcane for this season by adding inflation and profit margin for farmers on the average production rate. The sugarcane rate finalised by MoI will have to be endorsed by the Cabinet.

MoI Spokesperson Yam Kumari Khatiwada said that sugarcane price fixing process will be accelerated following recommendation letter from MoAD on production rate. “We have not yet received the recommendation letter. Once we get it, we will hold a series of discussions with stakeholders and try fixing sugarcane rate as soon as possible,” Khatiwada said.

Meanwhile, farmers have demanded increment in sugarcane price this year by at least 40 per cent.

“The factory price of sugar has increased to almost Rs 70 per kilogram from around Rs 50 per kg a year ago,” Kapil Muni Mainali, president of Nepal Sugarcane Producers Federation (NSPF), said. He further claimed that the production cost of sugarcane has gone up to more than Rs 425 per quintal this year.

Informing that farmers have often been hit hard by sugar mills in terms of price, Mainali urged the government to fix sugarcane price in line with increasing price of sugar and actual production cost of the farmers.