Cane growers’ plea on open market sale

ERODE: The State Government should allow the sugarcane growers to sell their produce in the open market without obtaining a no-objection certificate from the respective sugar mills, farmers said.

Participating in their grievances redressal day meeting held here recently, the farmers pointed out that the government was implementing a rule, which mandates the sugarcane growers to get no-objection certificate from the respective sugar mills before selling their produce to the manufacturers of jaggery and sale of other products in the open market.

Refusal

A majority of the sugar mills were refusing to provide no-objection certificate to the growers.

The government should scrap the rule immediately and allow the growers to sell their produce in the open market, farmers said.

A few farmers also complained that they were facing difficulties in obtaining crop loans from the banks.

They wanted the district administration to instruct the banks to extend crop loans to all the eligible farmers without unnecessary delays.

Collector R. Sudalaikannan, in his reply, assured that the administration would initiate efforts to redress the grievances of farmers quickly.

He also appealed to the farmers to co-operate with the district administration for the establishment of an integrated marketing complex for turmeric.

From THE HINDU

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India – Erode – Delay in water release brings down area under paddy cultivation

Farmers left with no option but to wait for samba season

ERODE: Paddy cultivation in areas under Kalingarayan Canal is down by at least 5,000 hectares. At least that is what sources in the Agriculture Department are telling ‘The Hindu’.

The sources attribute the reason to the delay in releasing water into Kalingarayan Canal. “The delay worried farmers, who hesitated to start paddy cultivation.”

Hard times: Delay in release of water into Kalingarayan Canal has brought down paddy cultivation.

Hard times: Delay in release of water into Kalingarayan Canal has brought down paddy cultivation.

In June this year, before the start of the Kuruvai season, the Public Works Department was unsure of releasing water into the irrigation channel because of the poor storage position in the Bhavani Sagar Dam.

Following pressure from farmers, who sought water to save standing crops, the department agreed to release water for about 20 days as special wetting. It released the water on June 25.

At the time of the water release, farmers, under the impression that the water would flow for only 20 days, did not prepare land for paddy cultivation. They focused only on saving sugarcane.

But then, within 10 days of the department opening the shutters, monsoon activity picked up in the Nilgris, which lead to a good inflow into the Bhavani Sagar Dam.

The storage position increased to such an extent that the department continued to release water. The farmers, caught unawares, were left with no choice but to wait for the samba season.

This delay in releasing water into the canal, poor storage in the dam and other factors contributed to farmers not starting sowing, says V.M. Velayudham, president, Kalingarayan Canal Farmers Association. He says had the farmers known that the dams storage position would improve and department would release water, they would have gone ahead and tilled and prepared the land to raise paddy nursery.

The farmers are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the samba season will be good with rains in time to get a good harvest.

By Karthik Madhavan – THE HINDU

Treated wastewater from paper factory irrigates sugarcane fields

A hub of dyeing units in Tamil Nadu, Pallipalayam is an exhibition of groundwater pollution from industry. The Cauvery river is joined by steady streams of industrial effluents; tannery units upstream have already done their bit. In the heart of this industrial darkness is a story of farmer-industry simpatico that began in the 1980s.

Seshasayee Paper Mill

Seshasayee Paper Mill

A paper factory treats its effluent and gives it to about 500 farmer families to irrigate their sugarcane fields in about 650 hectares (ha). The farmers sell the cane to a sugar mill, which extracts the juice from it to make sugar—and gives the byproduct bagasse to the paper mill to make paper. “It is a closed-circuit system. There is no discharge into the river,’’ said K Shanmugam, who heads the factory’s environment unit. The treated effluent meets quality standards.

The factory on the banks of the Cauvery belongs to Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd. Among the first farmers to take up sugarcane cultivation with treated effluent in the 1980s was Sengotuvel Gounder of Papanpalayam. His fortunes have changed since his family subsisted on Rs 2,000 a year from groundnut cultivation; his son Nallasivan today makes between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000—per 0.4 ha—harvesting up to 70 tonnes of cane on about 3 ha. Gounder never went to school but his granddaughter is studying in Chennai for a post-graduate degree.

“Farmers saw the money and switched,’’ he said. There are several signs of prosperity: pucca houses, cars, motorcycles. A large Great Dane guards the entrance to the house of Manoharan P, a cane farmer of Odapalli village. His father worked in the factory; his daughter goes to an expensive boarding school in Ooty. “I make Rs 20,000 per 0.4 ha growing cane on 8 ha using treated effluent,’’ he said.

Lifted by irrigation

The factory started in 1962, and would discharge untreated effluent into the Cauvery till 1978, when it installed its first treatment plant. In 1984, the factory signed an agreement with farmer societies and Ponni Sugars, its sister concern. The paper mill gave the farmers irrigation and the sugar mill provided extension support. Farmers promised to grow sugar on three-fourths of their lands, and to sell it only to the sugar mill.

“The average production on our effluent irrigated lands is 45 tonnes per acre. Ponni Sugars is paying us Rs 1,260 per tonne,’’ says S Muthuswamy, president of Odapalli Pappampalayam Lift Irrigation Society. Water is let out every 10 days, based on acreage; linemen monitor usage. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has certified the factory’s treated effluent meets the inland discharge water standards for the pulp and paper industry.

The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore studied the impact on water and soil. “…the application of treated effluent…for cultivation of sugarcane, maize, blackgram and other crops seems to have no adverse effect on physioco-chemical and microbiological characteristics of soil and groundwater…’’ said its September 2007 report.

The sugar mill is assured of 45 per cent of its requirement through the lift irrigation scheme, especially when prices increase in the market. Farmers pointed out that they have to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 per acre if they sell cane in the open market to benefit from increase in prices. No farmer has breached the contract till date, however. In turn, the company pays an incentive of Rs 30 for every tonne over and above the basic 22 tonnes (up to 52 tonnes).

Article posted in India Environmental Portal by Deepa Kozhisseri