Workers shortage affects sugarcane harvest in Tamil Nadu

Despite the opening of two sugar mills in Dharmapuri, sugarcane farmers are unable to harvest on time due to the shortage of workers.

Published: 27th December 2022 08:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th December 2022 08:58 AM   |  A+A-

sugarcane harvest, harvest

For representational purpose

By Express News Service

DHARMAPURI:  Despite the opening of two sugar mills in Dharmapuri, sugarcane farmers are unable to harvest on time due to the shortage of workers.

The Dharmapuri Cooperative Sugarmill in Palacode and the Subramaniya Siva Cooperative Sugarmill in Gopalapuram opened their grinding operations in December for the welfare of the farmers. Cultivation in Dharmapuri has flourished this year due to the 1120.8 mm of surplus rainfall. Over 20,577 acres of sugarcane fields are registered in both mills for crushing. But due to the lack and high cost of workers there is increasing demand.

S Perumal from Kadagathur said, “At present, we are struggling to find workers. This year the crop received sufficient water and there have been no problems in cultivation. Unlike previous years this year, the cultivation area has expanded. While this is a good thing, it is also a problem for farmers because of the lack of workers. Both the mill has opened in succession and this has driven the increase in demand. Many workers are unavailable as they are pre-booked by the farmers for the harvest season. Hence many fields in Palacode and its surrounding area have flowered. This will lead to farmers losing profits.”

K Mathaiyan, a farmer from Marandahalli said, “At present, people are paying between Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 to the workers per day. Not everyone can do this work, so there is a very limited workforce in the district. As sugarcane cutting is a seasonal task, many people have abandoned this work. Farmers have no choice but to wait for the workers to allot them their time. But in the meantime, the sugarcane is flowering.”

M Selvam, from Palacode said, “When sugarcane flowers, all its water content is lost. Without water content, the cane will lose its weight. Right now mills are paying Rs 3,126 per tonne in Palacode. If it’s ripe and filled with water, farmers will earn more profits. But the lack of workers has resulted in farmers facing losses.”

Officials in the Agriculture department said, “We have allocated harvesters and farmers can use this service. They can harvest an acre in one hour. We have urged farmers to consider this as an option. Hundreds of farmers are utilizing this and there is an increase in demand for the harvesters also.”


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