Sugar mills told to pay farmers within 5 days

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 9, 2018-

The government on Monday warned sugar producers to clear the dues of sugarcane farmers within five days or face stern action. This is the second time in four months that the government has told sugar mills to make payment to sugarcane farmers for their crops.

A joint meeting of the Finance, Agriculture and Livestock Development, Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Forest and Environment and Federal Affairs and General Administration ministries on Monday decided to issue a warning to sugar mills to pay farmers.

Sugar mills have been holding back payment from farmers saying that they are short of cash as they have been left with unsold stocks due to cheaper imports.

According to the Nepal Sugarcane Producers Association, sugarcane farmers are yet to receive Rs2 billion from the sugar mills.

Last June, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Yadav warned mill owners that they would be arrested if they do not pay cane growers on time. There are currently 13 sugar mills operating across the country.

According to the Sugar Producers Association, the mills have a combined stock of 108,000 tonnes of sugar worth Rs7 billion piled up in their warehouses.

Agriculture Minister Chakra Pani Khanal said that the government had issued the warning to provide relief to farmers with the start of the Dashain festival.

On Sunday, the association organised a press meet warning the government that they would be forced to launch a protest if the government did not act promptly to address their grievances.

Kapil Muni Mainali, president of the association, said the government had also failed to pay the subsidies promised to sugarcane farmers.

A Cabinet meeting on April 18 fixed the base price of sugarcane at Rs471.28 per quintal and announced additional subsidies of Rs65.28 per quintal for farmers. “However, six months have passed but the farmers have not received their money.”

Sugar mills are still reluctant to pay the farmers even after the government imposed a quantitative restriction on sugar as per their demand. On September 16, the Cabinet announced an import quota of 100,000 tonnes annually. Immediately after the government decision, the market price of sugar swelled by Rs20-25 per kg to Rs85-90 per kg.

Published: 09-10-2018 08:52

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