Haryana cane-growers stare at huge losses due to poor yield
Even as a ₹12 hike in the sugarcane state advised price (SAP) was announced by the state government taking it to ₹362 (the highest in country), the sugarcane-growers of Haryana stare at a bitter harvest this year as pest attack severely affected the crop yield.
As per reports collected from the sugarcane belts of Haryana, the farmers were expecting around 100 to 150 quintal crop loss per acre causing loss of around ₹30,000 to ₹50,000 per acre.
“I have harvested one acre so far and the average yield has come down to below 250 quintal per acre from 400 quintal of last year due to pest attack,” said farmer Parveen Kumar, who has 13 acre under sugarcane in Nilokheri, Karnal.
Another farmer Roshan Lal, of Yamunanagar, said he was expecting around 30-35% crop loss in sugarcane cultivation from his 26 acres this year.
“I have never experienced such a huge loss in the past 20 years. I think this year, most farmers will shift to other crops and shun sugarcane cultivation,” he added.
Moreover, farmers said this year, the production cost has increased as they had to spend on pesticides to protect their crop but to no avail.
Figures of the Haryana state agriculture department revealed that despite an increase in the area under sugarcane having reached 1.10 lakh hectare from 99,000 hectare of last year, cane production in state is likely to dip to around 84.50 lakh tonne against 85.32 lakh tonne of last year.
As per figures, officials expected yield of 768 quintal per hectare from 861 quintal of last year which is the lowest since 2016-17.
While crushing operations in all cooperative and private sugarmills in state have already started, officials of the sugarmills said due to poor yield, most mills in state might be facing difficulties to meet set targets.
There are reports that private sugarmills are attracting farmers associated with the cooperative sugarmills to meet their required target.
On Wednesday, farmers protested at Karnal’s cooperative sugarmill alleging that the mill was running below capacity. The protesting farmers accused the mill authorities of allowing farmers of other districts to sell their produce in Karnal.
Vijender Chaudhary, managing director of the Shahbad cooperative sugarmill, said, “There were reports that pest attack has affected the yield this year, but we are hopeful that we will achieve our target of crushing 80 lakh quintal.”
Experts said most of the cane crop was affected in Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panipat and Yamunanagar districts.
Dr Mehar Chand, a sugarcane expert and member secretary of the Haryana Kisan Ayog, said, “Severe attack of top borer, especially in largely grown Co-238 variety, is likely to have an adverse impact on the yield causing losses to farmers.”
He advised farmers to adopt inter-cropping method to avoid losses and choose crop varieties carefully.