Vehicles loaded with sugarcane are seen on the premises of Indu Shankar Sugar Mill in Sarlahi. Photo: Tanka Chhetri/ Republica
SARLAHI, Jan 17: Indu Shankar Sugar Mill based at Hariaun of Sarlahi district has started crushing sugarcane for this season, following the government’s recent decision on sugarcane prices.
“We started crushing sugar at 2pm Tuesday. Now we are operating the mill in full capacity,” Thakur Nepal, administrative officer of the mill, told Republica. The mill had informed farmers five days ago to bring sugarcane for crushing.
The industry has a target of crushing around four million quintals of sugarcane this season, according to Yog Narayan Rajak, manager of the mill.
The mill had crushed around 3.9 million quintals of sugarcane last year.
The government had recently set the price of sugarcane at Rs 536.56 per quintal, of which sugar mills will provide Rs 471.28 and the government will provide Rs 65.28 in subsidy to the farmers.
With the sugar mill restarting operation, farmers are in hurry to harvest sugarcane as the government’s price decision came late this season.
“This year, the government was late in taking decision on sugarcane price. This has bothered farmers and they are in a hurry to harvest their product,” said Kapil Muni Mainali, president of Nepal Sugarcane Producers Federation.
The government’s decision on sugarcane price was delayed by one and half months this year compared to the previous years, according to Mainali.
However the other sugar mill of the district, Annapurna Sugar Mill based at Dhankaul, is yet to start crushing sugarcane. Officials of the mill have said that it might take some time. This delay has bothered farmers of Dhangadha area.
“The mill has said that it will take 10 to 15 days more to start crushing sugarcane. We are worried about our next crop which we plant only after cutting down the sugarcane plants,” said Laxman Roy, a farmer.
Meanwhile, Mahalaxmi Sugar Mill, which is still under construction, is preparing to start sugarcane crushing from this year. According to the mill officials, they will start sugarcane crushing in a pilot phase this year.
This year, sugarcane was cultivated in around 26,000 hectares of land in the district. Sarlahi is the major sugarcane producing district in the country.