Cane FRA hike: SAP likely to remain unchanged now

Times of India | 5 days ago | 05-08-2022 | 08:39 am

Cane FRA hike: SAP likely to remain unchanged now

Lucknow: A day after the Centre hiked the fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane by Rs 15 to Rs 305 per quintal, arclights shifted to UP vis-a-vis possibility of increase in state advisory price (SAP) for the cash crop ahead of the upcoming cane crushing season. Officials in the cane development department, however, maintained that there was least possibility of a hike in SAP this year after it was increased by Rs 25 to Rs 340 per quintal (for normal variety) in September last year, ahead of the 2022 UP assembly elections.Besides, sources said, a hike in SAP may lead to burden on the mills while crippling their paying capacity and leading to rise in cane arrears – in what may potentially arm the opposition to train its guns at the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This is especially true in the case of politically crucial west UP region which accounts for a sizeable number of sugar mills in the state.“Increasing or decreasing the SAP is largely a political decision. Any further increase would, however, be detrimental to the sugar industry in the state,” a senior official said. The existing SAP for the best variety of cane in the state was Rs 350, which was almost Rs 45 more than the FRP.The SAP paid to farmers did not cover the cost of maintenance and refurbishment of the 120 sugar mills in UP. “It was through diversion to ethanol and constitution of escrow account that the state government was able to ensure timely payment to farmers,” an official said. Having ensured payment of well over Rs 1.5 lakh crore until last year, the state government has managed to pay over Rs 29,000 crore of cane dues as against the target of around Rs 35,000 crore for the 2021-22 crushing season. This was almost 85% of the target – in what is being touted as the fastest cane price payment made in the last two decades.UP happens to be the biggest producer of sugar after Maharashtra which compensates the cane growers as per the FRP. This year, the Centre has announced that a premium of Rs 3.05/quintal will be provided for each 0.1% increase in recovery over and above 10.25%. However, for every 0.1% decrease in recovery, the FRP will be reduced by Rs 3.05 per quintal.The Centre has decided that there shall not be deduction in case of sugar mills where recovery is below 9.5%. Such farmers will get Rs 282.125 per quintal for sugarcane in the ensuing sugar season 2022-23 in place of Rs 275.50 per quintal in current sugar season 2021-22.

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