Sugarcane growers in MP’s Narsinghpur district have demanded that their crop be included under the new Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme, PMFBY). Sugarcane crop was kept out of the Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme purview which was introduced by the Centre in January
The scheme, introduced by the Centre in January this year, has various new features on crop losses including post-harvest losses.
Under the scheme, premium rates to be paid by the farmers have been brought down substantially so that more farmers avail insurance cover against crop loss on account of natural calamities. The scheme will come into effect from the upcoming kharif season.
The farmers in the state were perplexed to find that the sugarcane crop was kept out of the scheme’s purview at a time when the Centre has been showing concern over the farmer’s plight on crop losses.
Babulal Patel, a farmer from Samnapur village in Narsinghpur, said, “The sugarcane crop is also affected by insects and other diseases and since it is of one year duration, the farmers had to face great financial hardships if there is crop loss. Therefore, the cover is necessary.”
In 2016, sugarcane has been sown on 63,000 hectares of land by around 50,000 farmers in the district.
In 2014, the area under sugarcane cultivation was 59,900 hectares while in 2015, it was 65,000 hectares.
Sugarcane is sown between October and November and is a one year duration crop. The sugarcane cultivation in Narsinghpur is over 50% of what is grown in Madhya Pradesh.
In Narsinghpur district, the total cultivated land is 3 lakh hectares of which sugarcane is grown on 20-22% of the area.
With the passage of time, farmers in the state who were growing soyabean shifted towards sugarcane cultivation after they sustained losses after poor or excessive rains and suffered from diseases like yellow mosaic.
The area under sugarcane cultivation doubled in the district from 29,041 hectares in 2013 to 59,900 in 2014.
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, one of the wings of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), has come in support of the farmers’ demand.
Sangh state executive body member Mahendra Goswami said, “Shortly we will be taking up the issue at the national level through the state bodies including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab where sugarcane is grown on a large scale.”
Narsinghpur deputy director agriculture department Jitendra Singh said, “As per guidelines of the Yojana received from the government, there is no mention of sugarcane crop. Hence, the farmers growing sugarcane will not get insurance cover”.
Satya Prakash Parihar,a farmer in Jhuba village, said the new insurance scheme had excellent features as it covered post-harvest losses, failure to sow crop due to nature’s vagaries and losses due to localized calamities and in this backdrop, the sugarcane crop must also be included.