ANAKAPALLE (VISAKHAPATNAM DT): Jaggery that brings sweetness to people has turned bitter for its makers and cane growers in the district. Sugarcane farmers involved in the jaggery making for past many decades have incurred losses this year too.
Anakapalle jaggery market is the second largest in the country and the product is also exported to other states like Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. Anakapalle jaggery is popular, but the business not so sweet to jaggery makers.
Traders at the market, now buying black jaggery at Rs 210 per 10 kg lump and at Rs 227 per 10 kg fine quality. Compared to last year, the prices of black and fine jaggery increased from Rs 180 and Rs 200 respectively, but with the rise in input cost, jaggery makers are incurring losses. Jaggery fetched good price in 2010 resulting in good profits. But the current scenario is completely different and jaggery makers are struggle to get back even input costs.
Jaggery makers G Ganeswar Rao and L Sanyasi Naidu of Anakapalle mandal say 100 kg of jaggery can be produced from one tonne of sugarcane. The price of the sugarcane is Rs 1,800 per tonne.
Another Rs 800 is needed for coconut oil, sodium hydrosulphite and other materials. Inputs alone come to Rs 2,600 per 100 kg and labour costs need to be added. However,traders are buying 100 kg of black jaggery at Rs 2,100 and fine quality at Rs 2,270. Where is the profit in this, they ask.
Traders purchased 2,000 truck loads of jaggery, with each truck containing 10 tonne, last year. They bought black jaggery at Rs 180 per 10 kg and fine quality at Rs 200 and sold it at Rs 260 and Rs 280 respectively to other states. They made a profit of Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 per truck load.
K Sharath Kumar, a trader, said this year the traders are likely to procure more than 2,000 truck loads as arrivals this season are 15 percent more compared to last year. They announced twoday holiday for the market unable to deal with the huge arrivals of jaggery.
Sharath Kumar said the Anakapalle jaggery market has received about 3.5 million lumps in 2011 and that figure will be reached by May this year. When the sugar price came down, the price of jaggery too came down, which put jaggery makers in losses.
Some sugarcane farmers said they would not continue jaggery making as the experience of the last two years is bitter.