April 7: Production of sugar has declined in the fiscal year compared to last year, according to the Sugar Producers Association (SPA). In the corresponding period of last fiscal year, 130,000 metric tons of sugar was produced in the country while the production this year is only 100,000 metric.
The process of crushing sugarcane in this year was completed a week ago. Since crushing sugarcanes has been completed for this year, SPA has estimated that about 100,000 metric tons of sugar has been produced so far.
According to a report received by the association from sugar mills, 75,000 metric tons of sugar has already been produced while the data of three industries are yet to be received.
“If the data of the industry which is yet to received is added , production of sugar is estimated to reach 100,000 metric tons,” said Shashikanta Agrawal, president of the Association.
The production has declined this year compared to the previous years, states SPA. This year most of the sugarcane farmers have shifted to rice and wheat farming due to the problem of untimely payment.
According to Agrawal, payment is not the only issue behind the decline in production. “As per the cycle of production, sugarcane production declines every three years,” he said. Even if the same amount of fertilizer, seeds is used to produce sugar in the same area of land, the production declines by 20 to 25% in the second year compared to the first year, said Agrawal.
Around 260,000 metric tons of sugar used to be produced till ten years ago. The domestic production has been affected due to smuggling of sugar and lack of timely payment to the farmers.
Until the last year, twelve sugar mills were in operation . But now, the number has declined to ten due to lack of sugarcane. According to the government data, the country consumes 250,000 metric tons of sugar.
Sugarcane farmers yet to receive full payment
Sugarcane farmer have not received the full payment from sugar mills yet. Rakesh Agrawal, member of the Sugarcane Farmers Struggle Committee, claimed that the farmers have not received full payment. He said if the payment is not made by mid May, farmers will visit Kathmandu again to stage protest programme. Farmers are hoping to receive the outstanding dues of Rs 200 million on the initiative of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies.