In a major relief to the sugarcane farmers, the governmnet today raised Fair & Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane by Rs 10 per quintal to Rs 285 per quintal for the 2020-21 marketing year starting October 1. It had been a long-standing proposal as the government had kept the FRP unchanged last year. However, the sugar mills have outstanding dues of thousands of crores of rupees on farmers, which once again raises the question of the immediate benefit of increasing FRP to the farmers. With cane payment arrears to farmers crossing Rs 14,200 crore, sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh have sought a cash subsidy bailout from the state government to enable them to discharge their outstanding dues, The Indian Express had reported.
The President of UP Sugar Mills Association (UPSMA), CB Patodia had written in a letter to the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that in this hour of deep crisis, they look upon the government to bail out the industry by way of a cash subsidy. This shall help augment their cash flows so that crushing operations and cane price payments continue, he had added.
Farmers, reforms, and economy
As the sugar mills become increasingly incapable to pay to the farmers, the governmnet has recently brought various landmark reforms in the agriculture sector. Also, the farmers have single-handedly supported the economy in the trying times of the coronavirus crisis. With a higher farm production, Indian exported a significantly higher amount of agri products in the global market this year.
The exports of agricultural commodities from March to June 2020 shot up by 23.24 per cent on-year to Rs 25,552.7 crores, according to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. The government said that self-reliant agriculture is critical for the goal of an Atmanirbhar Bharat and for this, agricultural export is extremely important as besides earning foreign exchange for the country, the exports help farmers, producers, and exporters to take advantage of the wider international sugarcane market and increase their income.
Meanwhile, the Modi government’s ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ of Rs 1 lakh crore is likely to increase the share of agriculture in India’s GDP, said the Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA). The fund aimed at catalysing the Agri-infra development and help build pivotal infrastructures like warehouses, cold storage, and nurture farm assets. The fund is also expected to enhance GDP, improve the Balance of Trade, and stimulate the global export potential of the agriculture sector. At present, agriculture contributes to over 14 per cent of the national GDP and provides livelihood to over 40 per cent of the nation’s workforce.