INDIA: Bidar mills pay off farmer arrears

Published: 11/17/2016, 3:38:47 PM

The district administration has paid off the arrears of farmers who had supplied sugarcane to Bidar Sahakari Sakkare Karakhane by selling seized sugar online, at prices more than those prevailing in the market, according to India's The Hindu newspaper.

Officers got an optimum price of INR3,495 (US$51.4) per quintal and paid off a part of the fair and remunerative price of INR2,321 per tonne of sugarcane. Officers were also able to pay for the cutting and transportation, labour and other costs. While the factory had paid a major portion of the price to farmers, the rest was due. Logistics and other charges had remained unpaid.

A Statewide agitation by farmers' organisations forced the government to take over the unsold sugar stocks and pay arrears after selling them.

Acting on government orders, officials in Bidar had seized around 48,000 quintals of sugar from the factory for delaying payments to farmers. Officers sold the sugar in three lots of 10,000, 700 and 37,000 quintals over a period of six months. The last lot was bought by government agencies over NCDEX.

Officers of the Food and Civil Supplies Department deposited INR118.7 million in the accounts of 5,153 farmers three days ago.

"We got the best price of INR3,495, which is more than what we could get in the local market as we used the NCDEX platform,'' said Anurag Tewari, Deputy Commissioner. "I have reasons to believe Bidar is the only district to have sold sugar on NCDEX. We are also the first district to pay off all arrears of farmers who supplied sugarcane to cooperative factories," he said. He had advised officers to follow this route for all similar transactions in future.

The district administration had used the NCDEX platform to sell sugar and pay off cane suppliers' dues in September. It was slowed down due to the heavy rains and resultant crop damage. But we have now picked up pace, Tewari said.