Reverting abandoned lands to sugarcane cultivation.

Roshan Baguant, the outgoing President of the Sugar Syndicate, raised the alarm about the extent of abandoned sugarcane cultivation lands during the organization’s annual general meeting. He made a plea to the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security to reverse the trend.

The President of the MSS has argued that as production decreases, it will seriously compromise the competitiveness of the industry and the flexibility required to achieve maximum value in the market.

Roshan Baguant stated, “Although we understand the need to convert lands for other economic purposes, it is regrettable that we have simply abandoned over 10,000 hectares, which account for a quarter of the 39,199 hectares harvested in 2022, without any other utilization.” He added, “We advocate for an urgent reversal of this trend,” as he addressed the minister in charge.

The President of the Sugar Syndicate asserted, “We must not only bring these abandoned lands back into sugarcane cultivation but also refrain from converting more prime agricultural land to safeguard our food security, energy security, and the environment.” He stressed that industry stakeholders should also bear in mind that decreasing production would seriously compromise the industry’s competitiveness and its ability to adapt to seek the highest value in the market.

Regarding the sales performance of the 2022 harvest, he brought attention to the fluctuations that can occur in market prices. He also underscored the importance of considering the viability of sugarcane production in the medium and long term.

Roshan Baguant stated, “We should seize the opportunity to invest and prepare for less favorable times, as is the case with most agricultural crops.” He also highlighted that the Sugar Syndicate, managed by planters and millers, “requires agility to address market volatility.”

In this context, he cited the statement made by the CEO of the Sugar Syndicate, Devesh Dukhira, that the organization had achieved an ex-syndicate price of Rs 25,554 per tonne of sugar. Roshan Baguant asserted, “This price is 52% higher than what producers were paid for the 2021 harvest and nearly three times higher than the Rs 8,700 paid for the 2018 harvest. It even surpasses the peak of Rs 18,620 reached in 2007 when guaranteed prices under the Sugar Protocol were still in effect.”

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