MAHOTTARI, DECEMBER 22

Hiralal Mahato of Bhangaha Municipality in Mahottari district who used to cultivate sugarcane in three bigha land has now started cultivating it only in one bigha. Similarly, Dhaneshi Mahato of the same locality has already switched to another occupation.

Sugarcane, which used to be cultivated in hundreds of bigha of land, has now been limited to some patches of land in the district. Sugarcane farmers started quitting their occupation after they faced many problems, including delayed payment despite their hard work and investment.

Chairperson of Sugarcane Producing Farmers’ Association, Mahottari, Naresh Singh Kushwaha said lack of technical support for sugarcane farming and concessional loan for its cultivation, obstacles in fixing the price and non-payment of dues were some of the pressing reasons behind farmers quitting sugarcane farming.

Sugarcane, a major cash crop, was cultivated in around 18,000 bigha land in the district 20 years ago, but now, its cultivation has reduced to 6,500 bigha, added Kushwaha.

Hiralal said, “Sugarcane, which is sweet in taste, is bitter for us. Neither was the price of sugarcane determined, nor the payment made on time. So we have been reducing its cultivation.”

The farmers further said what they were expecting from the government was determination of proper price for their produce.

Meanwhile, Everest Sugar and Chemical Industries at Gaushala Municipality has started issuing approval letters to farmers for harvesting sugarcane.

The farmers have demanded that the price of sugarcane should be determined at Rs 617 per quintal this year. It was Rs 536.56 per quintal last year.

Another sugarcane farmer, Kusheshwor Yadav of Bhangaha, however said there was possibility of returning to their occupation if the government could create trustworthy environment for the same.

Feature image: File