marathwada: Half of Marathwada’s sugar cane still needs to be cut | Aurangabad News

Aurangabad: Santosh Yerande, a farmer from Paithan taluka of Aurangabad district, is spending sleepless nights as the sugar cane he was growing on seven acres has yet to be harvested.
“I am eagerly waiting for the cane in my field to be cut because the lifespan of my crop has already extended for more than a year. The excessive delay will inevitably lead to a low sugar recovery rate, affecting the efficiency of the mills. I have been asked to pay more for labor costs for harvesting, among other expenses, which I cannot afford,” the 40-year-old said.
Like Yerande, dozens of other farmers in Marathwada are spending sleepless nights as the drought-prone region got a bumper harvest. Good rainfall across Marathwada in the past two rainy seasons has seen cultivation of over 6.7 lakh hectare. Of these, only half of the crop has been harvested so far.
About 58 sugar mills took part in the cane crushing season this year, which should end at the end of May.
Farmer leader Vilas Babar said shortage of harvesters and rising transport costs were major problems for sugar cane growers. “As the cane crushing season draws to a close, cane harvesters, who are marginal farmers, have started to return home. Surplus cane is necessarily transported to mills located more than 100 km away. The state government should organize mechanical harvesters and bear the transportation costs,” he said.
When contacted, Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said the sugar mills had been told to operate until all the sugar cane grown in Marathwada was crushed.
“We do not foresee any problem for Osmanabad and Latur districts as sugar cane from these areas is transported to neighboring Solapur and other districts. For farmers in other districts of Marathwada, we would like to ensure that their sugar cane will be crushed,” he said.
Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse could not be reached for comment.

Rachel J. Bradford