Board will have the right to pay farmers a price over and above Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) on cane decided by the Centre
The Maharashtra government has finally announced the formation of a State Sugarcane Control Board to regulate the prices of sugarcane in the state. Disputes over cane price has been a reason for repeated clashes between cane growers and sugar factory owners in the past few years. Cane-growers organisations in the state have been demanding the setting up of such a board for a few years now.
The board will start functioning at the start of the sugarcane harvest in October this year. State cooperatives minister Harshavardhan Patil has said that no permits for cane-crushing will be given till October 15, before which time the board will decide the prices for this year.
The board will be headed by the principal secretary of state; secretaries with cooperatives and the agriculture department will be its members. Other members will include farmers and five representatives of sugar factories. Two of them will be from private sugar factories while the remaining three will be from cooperative sugar factories. The state sugar commissioner will be member secretary of the board.
The board will have the right to pay farmers a price over and above the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) on cane decided by the Central government. While deciding this price, factors to be taken into consideration will be the value of byproducts like bagasse, molasses and press-mud. The price will be 70 per cent of the value earned by the factory after taking into consideration of the value of these products as well. Alternatively, if the price is decided on the value of sugar alone, then the price will be 75 per cent of the factory’s earnings.
The other responsibilities of the board will include advising government on issues relating to price and supply of sugarcane, bringing violations to the notice of the sugar commissioner and advising the commissioner on action to be taken. The board will also ensure that the farmer is paid FRP within 14 days of supply of cane to the factory. The total price of cane will be paid in two instalments – the first according to FRP, as mentioned above, and the second after the half-yearly factory prices are made public. The amounts will be paid into the bank accounts of farmers.
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