The sugar industry has sought immediate measures from the government to ensure that the benefits of the subsidy regime reach the farmers and not cola and beverage companies.
“It high time the government woke up and confronted the facts and supported the sugarcane farmer and the industry, or else India will be importing sugar from Brazil in the near future and the average Indian household consumer will have to pay Rs. 100 per kg,” said Rajshree Pathy, president of South Indian Sugar Mills Association (SISMA).
“Why is the sugar industry being forced to subsidise them at selling to them at beneath their cost of production and thus deprive the farmers of a remunerative price for his crop? Whose balance sheet therefore needs to be trimmed,
the sugar mills or the multi-national beverage and confectionary businesses,” Pathy said.
The sugarcane cultivation in all parts of India has declined drastically last year due to the mounting sugarcane arrears due to them by the mills.
Sugar factories are unable to pay higher prices to farmers primarily because sugar prices have been kept artificially low by the government to curb inflation.
“The extremely high weightage given to sugar in the wholesale price indices still has not been revised in spite of several representations to the government, hence resulting in incorrect inflationary percentages,” Pathy said.