Sugar mills in Maharashtra see higher FRP due to acceleration of SSS during the crushing season

15 days into the sugarcane crushing season in Maharashtra, sugar mills are facing challenges to operate at full capacity due to protests by farmers demanding a  higher price for their product. Currently, only 103 factories are operating, which is less than the 141 factories operating during the same period last season. Operating mills  crushed only 36,000 tons of sugar cane, a significant drop from 101,000 tons in the same period last season. Factories operating in the state produced only two thousand tons of sugar, while eight thousand tons were produced at the same time  last season. Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), a farmer’s organization in western Maharashtra, launched a protest demanding  ₹400 per tonne for crushed sugarcane last season and offering a fair and remunerative price (FRP) of ₹3,500  per tonne in the current season. About 37 sugar factories in Sangli and Kolhapur districts of the state are unable to start crushing sugarcane  as the SSS, which has considerable influence in these areas, is against sugarcane cropping until their demands are met.    

 SSP president and former MP Raju Shetti said, “Sugar mills made significant profits last season due to the rise in sugar prices after April. The balance sheets of many mills reflect that reality. After crushing about 3 billion tonnes of sugarcane, 37 sugar mills in Sangli and Kolhapur districts gave about  ₹1,200 crore,  concentrated in 37 families.These mostly family businesses have boards and the profits should be shared among the 15 million sugarcane growers in these areas. Shetti stressed that since sugar prices  remain high this season, mills should offer ₹ 3,500 in the current cane season.  SSS will not allow sugarcane cutting and will intensify its agitation next week, the demands will not be accepted.

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