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UP: Farmer Unions Gear Up to Protest Against Govt's Decision of ‘Meagre’ Sugarcane Hike

Unions call Rs 20 hike in sugarcane price ‘insufficient’; BKU met with around dozen farmer leaders to take their feedback and find a solution.
Unions call Rs 20 hike in sugarcane price ‘insufficient’; BKU met with around dozen farmer leaders to take their feedback and find a solution.

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Flickr

Lucknow: The farm groups have rejected the Rs 20-hike in sugarcane price announced by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. In Western Uttar Pradesh, the 'sugarcane belt' -  the epicentre of the farmers' movement in the state is gearing up for a protest against the 'meagre' increase. 

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) held a meeting with around a dozen farmer leaders to take their feedback and find a solution.

The national president of BKU, Naresh Tikait, termed the cane price hike insufficient. He said farming is becoming expensive. The prices of agricultural equipment, pesticides, ploughing, diesel and other things have increased manifolds. The situation of small peasants is grave. The government has increased it by Rs 20 per quintal, but this is not a remunerative price. This is how the government would double farmers' income. 

BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait appealed to the state government to reconsider its decision. He said, "There was a need to provide more relief to the farmers. The government should have made a correct assessment of the farmer's costs. If the price had been declared accordingly, the farmer would have got relief."

Meanwhile, the BKU and All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) issued a statement rejecting the “meagre” hike and said the farmers would not be able even to recover their costs and sugar mills had not yet been started.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Apolitical) and Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ambawata) used a popular idiom-  "oont ke muh me jeera" (a small cumin seed in a camel's mouth) to describe the inadequacy of the recent increase of Rs 20 per quintal. 

"Inflation has reached its peak in the last seven-and-a-half years. In these years, there has been a huge increase in the prices of fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, wages and diesel, and the Yogi government has increased the price of sugarcane by just Rs 20 to cheat the farmers, which the farmers will not tolerate at all," Ramchandra Singh, Kushinagar district president of BKU (Ambawata) told NewsClick. 

The farmer leader said that when the entire country is one, then the price of sugarcane for the farmers of all the states should also be the same. The price of sugarcane in Haryana is Rs 386 per quintal, and the price of sugarcane in Punjab is Rs 391 per quintal, which is higher than in Uttar Pradesh.

The farm union demanded that the rate of Rs 450 per quintal should be fixed for the sugarcane. Sugarcane prices in neighbouring states Haryana and Punjab are higher than in Uttar Pradesh. 

Last week, the state cabinet approved an increase of Rs 20 per quintal in the state advisory price for three varieties of sugarcane, taking the  State Agreed Price (SAP) for early variety from Rs 350 per quintal to Rs 370 per quintal for 2023-2024 crushing season in Uttar Pradesh.

The decision, taken during a state cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, would benefit 42 lakh farmers engaged in sugarcane farming in nearly 29 lakh hectare area in UP.

Minister for Finance Suresh Khanna and Minister for sugarcane development Chaudhary Laxmi Narain, while addressing the media, said the SAP for three varieties of sugarcane has been increased by Rs 20 per quintal. While the SAP for early variety has gone up from Rs 350 to Rs 370 per quintal, the SAP for common variety is up from Rs 340 to Rs 360 per quintal, while unapproved varieties have from Rs 335 to Rs 355 per quintal.

Chaudhary said the cabinet has decided that a one-time payment for the increased amount would be made to farmers.

The deduction for transportation from procurement centres to the sugar mill gate has been increased by Rs 45 per quintal with a maximum of Rs 9 per quintal. He said farmers gave 60% of sugarcane at the mill gate while 40% was sold at procurement centres.

As reported by NewsClick earlier, farmers in Uttar Pradesh have been protesting over the Uttar Pradesh government not declaring its SAP for sugarcane for 2023-24, despite the crushing season technically starting from October. They have been demanding to increase SAP to Rs 450 per quintal. 

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