The state government on Sunday fixed the procurement price of sugarcane for the season at `2,500 per tonne after holding a day-long meeting with the Karnataka Sugarcane Control Board, burdening the state exchequer by `330 crore.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Sugar Minister Prakash B Hukkeri said the State government, after considering the views of both the representatives of the sugar mills and farmers decided to fix the price.
While `2,500 per tonne with a minimum yield of 9.5 per cent, is ex-field (minus cutting and transportation cost) for the Northern Karnataka, it will be ex-gate price for the farmers of South Karnataka, he said.
Maintaining that while farmers’ representatives were demanding the state government fix the price between `3,000-3,500 per tonne, the mill owners were not ready to settle beyond `2,400 per tonne, he said. “The price of `2,500 per tonne was fixed after the state government agreed to waive VAT and purchase tax on sugarcane in favour of mill owners,” he added.
Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, vice-president of the Board, who was also present on the occasion, said the price was fixed after assuming the market price of sugar at `29 per kg.
“The board would meet again and review the price if the sugar price soars above `29 per kg, and transfer a portion of surplus margin to the farmers” he said.
“The board also took note of the production cost sugarcane while arriving at the purchase price,” he said.
“With today’s decision, the state government would lose a revenue of `330 crore by way of giving tax relief to the mill owners,” he said.
Co-operation Minister Mahadeva Prasad, Rajya Raitha Sangha president and MLA K S Puttannaiah, farmers’ representatives Karubur Shanthakumar, Kodihalli Chandrashekhar and senior officials were also present at the meeting.
Farmers Withdraw Agitation
Meanwhile, sugarcane growers who have been agitating for the past five days temporarily withdrew their stir on Sunday.
They will decide on their next course of action within two-three days and have decided to approach the court if a fare rate is not fixed within a week.
Sugarcane growers from Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gadag, Dharwad, Haveri and Karwar districts, who have been camped outside the residence of Sugar Minister Prakash Hukkeri since Saturday, ended their indefinite stir.