Pawar asks sugar mills, farmers to resolve price row to start crushing operations

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, is said to have brokered a truce yesterday between farmers and warring sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh, the country's largest producer of the sweetener.

According to sources the millers in UP may agree to pay farmers Rs180-Rs200 per quintal for the cane purchased this season. Concluding the meeting Pawar said he has appealed to the millers to resolve the issue at the earliest.

He said the government was trying to ensure that the crushing operations start in UP as early as possible. He said mills in other states like Tamil Nadu,Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat have already started crushing operations.

Meanwhile, according to sources while the UP sugar industry could pay a price higher than the state advised price (SAP) of the UP government, the exact amount of incentive will be worked out at a meeting of the UP millers with the state government on Wednesday and if all goes well, majority of mills in the state could resume crushing form mid-November.

The deadlock came about with sugarcane farmers from UP not only rejecting out of hand, both the centre's 'fair and remunerative price' (FRP) of Rs130 per quintal as well as the state government's state advised price (SAP).

The state government has asked the district administrations of the cane producing districts to facilitate a mutually agreed price between the millers and farmers.