To safeguard the interests of cane growers in Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today approved a hike of Rs 15 per quintal in the state agreed price (SAP) of all varieties for the crushing season 2021-22.

With this, the SAP of sugarcane has gone up from Rs 310 to Rs 325 for early variety, Rs 300 to Rs 315 for mid variety and Rs 295 to Rs 310 per quintal for late maturing variety.

For the ensuing crushing year, around 1.10 lakh hectares is under sugarcane cultivation across the state. Around 660 lakh quintals of sugarcane would be crushed by mills.

With the increase in sugarcane rates, state farmers will get a higher benefit of Rs 230 crore against the previous year. Besides, on the demand of the Punjab cane growers, the rate of variety Co-0238 would also be purchased at Rs 325 per quintal.

Chairing a meeting of the Sugarcane Control Board here through video conferencing, the Chief Minister constituted a Cane Development Group, headed by Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa with Rana Sugars CMD Rana Gurjit Singh, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar, Cane Commissioner Gurvinder Singh and PAU Sugar Research Centre, Kapurthala, Director Dr Gulzar Singh as members.

The group has been mandated to find ways and means to enhance the production of sugarcane and promote advanced cultivation technologies to ensure an improvement in sugar recovery.

The Chief Minister asked the Agriculture Department to work closely with farmers to bring more area under cane cultivation to improve the viability of mills, besides giving a push to state government’s ambitious programme of crop diversification.

On his part, Randhawa emphasised the need for modernising cooperative sugar mills to reduce the cost of production and allow cane growers to fetch better remunerative prices. The state has as many as 16 sugar mills, of which nine are in the cooperative sector. The cane crushing capacity of these mills is 56,000 tonne per day. If run at full capacity, the mills can crush sugarcane from an area of 125 lakh hectares, whereas the present area is 0.93 lakh hectares.

The crop has the potential to generate high number of job in the rural areas, both in harvesting and processing.

The meeting was attended ACS Development Anirudh Tewari, Principal Secretary KAP Sinha, RCS Vikas Garg, Commissioner Agriculture Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director Agriculture Sukhdev Singh Sidhu, Nahar Industrial Enterprises CMD Amloh Kamal Oswal, besides representatives of various cane growers’ associations.

Source: 20 August, 2021, The Tribune