The sugarcane cultivation area in Madurai district has drastically shrunk to around 1,150 hectares this year compared to a six-year average of around 3,900 hectares.
The delay in settlement of dues from cooperative sugar mills, compounded by the financial crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, has discouraged farmers to cultivate sugarcane – a cash crop promoted by the Agricultural Department.
N. Palanichamy, president, Tamil Nadu Sugarcane Farmers’ Association, says that the National Cooperative Sugar Mill at Alanganallur has not paid a Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) of around ₹1 crore to farmers who had harvested sugarcane from February. Apart from this, the mill has not paid the State Advisory Price on sugarcane for a period of two years, totalling to ₹19 crore, he added.
Many farmers had borrowed extensively to pay labourers for cutting cane, says S, Jayakalai, a farmer from…