Farmers in Uttar Pradesh, India's top cane cultivating state have refused to sell their produce to sugar mills unless the government raises cane procurement prices, according to Ajit Singh, an influential leader of farmers and a former agriculture minister.
The government has offered a 60 per cent hike in the cane procurement price, but farmers demand a doubling of the current rate in line with the prices of sugar.
Singh, who heads a regional political party in the state, has warned that he would launch an agitation that will blockade national highways and disrupt train services, to press the issue.
Any delay in the supply of cane to mills will put a squeeze of supply of the sweetener which is expected to fall much short of demand for the second consecutive year.
This week the state government barred import of raw sugar into the sate following protests by farmers against the use of raws by local mills.
According to Preetam Chowdhury, president of a farmers' union cane growers were united and would hold back their producers.