Mysuru: The tale of sugarcane cultivators has not been all that sweet. What holds mirror to the plight of the sugarcane growers is the fact that the state has witnessed a 35 per cent dip in sugarcane cultivation. The pathetic state of the growers living in dry regions of state like Mandya, Chamarajanagar etc, is such that paucity of water and other factors have compelled land owning farmers from the dry regions to migrate and work as daily wage workers in Bengaluru and Mysuru areas.
Speaking about the same, State Sugarcane Growers’ Association President Kurubur Shantha Kumar said that while sugarcane cultivation went down by 40 per cent in the country, in Karnataka alone there has been a 35 per cent slash in sugarcane cultivation.
“When compare to last year, sugarcane cultivation has come down drastically across the state. The farmers who have traditionally been growing sugarcane have drifted towards other crops mainly because of delay in payment from sugarcane factory owners. Water scarcity, huge investments and low returns too have contributed largely. Last year across the state sugarcane was grown in seven lakh hectares and there was 26 lakh tonnes of sugarcane produced while this year farmers are cultivating sugarcane in just 4.5 lakh hectares and we are expecting less than 20 lakh tonnes. Last year during this time, 3.90 crore tone of sugarcane were crushed but this year just 3 crore tone of sugarcane have been crushed,” he said adding that sugarcane growers have taken to cotton, banana and other horticulture crops.
“The sad part is that even when sugar costs about Rs 4000 per tonne, farmers hardly get between Rs 2000 to Rs 2300 per tonne of sugarcane,” he said stressing that the sugar factory owners pay the farmers after months of supplying sugarcane, which has left the growers in dire straits. Kumar opined that with sugarcane cultivation shrinking across the country, the cost of sugar is likely to shoot up to Rs 45 from the present Rs 30 per kg.