Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pawar’s optimism on cane price Misplaced: Lok Satta

Had State and Central Governments ensued a remunerative price for sugarcane, the country could have avoided import of costly sugar now, pointed out the Lok Satta Party here today.

Commenting on Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s claim that sugarcane farmers would get up to Rs.2200 per ton this year, party leaders V. Laxman Balaji, E. Chennayya and P. Jagannadha Naidu said Mr. Pawar’s optimism is not borne out by ground realities. A number of factories in Andhra Pradesh even to this day are not ready to pay even Rs.2000 a ton of sugarcane.

The Lok Satta leaders recalled that the factories paid only up to Rs.1500 last year and only Rs.1000 a year earlier per ton. The cost of cultivation has gone up to Rs.2200 per acre owing to higher input costs and labor charges.

The Lok Satta leaders faulted both the Central and State Governments for making farmers’ lives miserable and driving them to end their lives since 1996.

In Andhra Pradesh, 82 percent of farmers continue to be steeped in debt, despite loan waiver amounting to Rs.13,000 crore. Agriculture has recorded a measly 0.10 percent growth despite free power supply to the agriculture sector and enormous expenditure under ‘jalayagnam’ to bring huge tracts under irrigation.

The Lok Satta Party demanded the creation of 10,000 agri clinics to supply inputs and extend technical assistance, provision of credit to farmers and tenants, establishment of industries that add value to agricultural produce and better marketing facilities to make agriculture remunerative.

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