Sugarcane rate recommended at Rs 530.2 per quintal

Kathmandu, December 27

After farmers and sugar mills failed to reach consensus on sugarcane price, the government has recommended Rs 530.2 for one quintal of sugarcane for farmers this season.

A meeting among senior officials of Ministry of Industry (MoI) and Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) on Monday recommended sugarcane price at this rate. As compared to last year’s rate of Rs 461 per quintal, sugarcane rate this year is higher by Rs 69.2 per quintal.

Though MoI and MoAD have recommended the sugarcane price, confusion still hovers over who is responsible for endorsing the price. After finalising the rate on Monday, MoI had sent the related file to MoAD asking it to take it to the Cabinet or endorse the decision on its own.

“Legally, endorsing the price of sugarcane is not under the jurisdiction of MoI. Thus, we sent the file to MoAD for necessary treatment,” a MoI source said, adding that MoI only facilitated the price fixation process.

Lekhnath Acharya, joint secretary of MoAD, said that sugarcane price had to be fixed through consensus between farmers and sugar mills and is not a matter related to the government. However, the government in recent years has had to intervene after the two parties failed to reach consensus. “Thus, we have recommended the sugarcane rate for this year and it need not to be tabled at the Cabinet,” said Acharya, adding that a minister-level meeting of MoAD can endorse the price rate.

Owing to increased rate of sugar, farmers had been demanding with the sugar mills to fix sugarcane price at Rs 550 per quintal. However, price had to be recommended by the government after sugar mills were unwilling to give more than Rs 513 per quintal to farmers.

“Mill price of sugar is almost Rs 70 per kg today against Rs 50 a kg last year. We had asked the government to fix sugarcane price at a minimum rate of Rs 550 per quintal,” said Kapil Muni Mainali, president of Nepal Sugarcane Producers Federation (NSPF), adding that it is a compulsion for the farmers to sell sugarcane at the price recommended by the government.

The MoAD, in November, had increased the production cost of sugarcane for this year by nine rupees per quintal to Rs 303 a quintal as compared to last year. MoI and MoAD have finalised the new sugarcane rate for this season adding inflation and profit margin for farmers on production cost.