Madurai: Sugarcane farmers making jaggery in their farms as cottage industry are in a spot, as provisions of the sugarcane control order, 1966 have come to haunt them. A group of farmers from Thanichiyam, Kondayampatti, Ayyanagoundampatti from Alanganallur union in Madurai district have petitioned the collector on Monday, complaining that they are not allowed to manufacture jaggery in their fields using the canes not registered with sugarcane mills.
Sugarcane control order, 1966, enacted by the central government to ensure sugar supply as essential commodity does not suffer from shortage, and prohibits free movement of sugarcane from one area to another. Such movement could be carried out after obtaining due permission from the commissioner of sugar in Chennai, which is not an easy task for local farmers.
Till now, sugarcane production was sufficient for Alanganallur National Cooperative Sugar Mills which controls most of the sugarcane farms in the region. Prolonged drought has taken a heavy toll on sugarcane farming. From two lakh tonnes of production per year, the yield this year has shrunk to 50,000 tonnes and it is feared that the sugar mills will not have sufficient sugarcane for the season, official sources at Alanganallur National Cooperative Sugar Mills said.
Since the movement of sugarcane is curbed, farmers making jaggery in their fields are feeling the pinch. "We have not registered this sugarcane with Alanganallur sugar mills. Why should they threaten us to confiscate machines and utensils, if we manufacture jaggery in our fields?" asked M Vijayakumar, a farmer from Ayyanagoundampatti.
The district administration, a fortnight ago issued a statement urging farmers to adhere to the sugarcane control order norms and send all sugarcane to Alanganallur mills. On November 25, Vadipatti tahsildar convened a meeting in which the farmers were warned not to indulge in jaggery making failing which crushers and utensils used in the process will be confiscated, the farmers claimed.
Jaggery making is a cottage industry in all areas where sugarcane is cultivated. On an average, two tonnes of jaggery per day is manufactured and sent to the market. For farmers, a tonne of jaggery is more remunerative than sending one tonne of sugarcane to a sugar mill. Government and private sugar mills alike have been delaying payment to the farmers for nearly four years. "A jaggery merchant will give me an interest-free loan to commence next year farming. Can a sugar mill assure me immediate dispersal of payment on sugarcane I supply?" asked P Prakash, a farmer.
via The Times of India http://ift.tt/2hJjhqE
November 29, 2017 at 11:16AM
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