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Govt apathy, brokers’ exploitation leave sugarcane farmers in Odisha’s Nabarangpur dist high and dry

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Reported by Ranjan Rath
Nabarangpur, Nov 4:

Let down by the gross apathy of the Odisha government and the monopoly of the brokers, the farmers of Nabarangpur district are no more interested in sugarcane cultivation.

Sugarcane farm“The sugarcane farmers of Nabarangpur district are yet to get the seeds and fertilizers from the state government. Taking advantage of this, the brokers from Jagdalpur in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh have been providing all assistance in cash and kind to the farmers right from the start of the cultivation up to the harvest. However, we are forced to sell them molasses at the price fixed by these brokers. That leaves us without any tangible profit. With the money we get from the sale of the molasses, we just manage to run our family”, Brundabana Tripathy, a farmer from Bikrampur area of the district, told OST.

Sources in the Agriculture department said the sugarcane cultivation has been undertaken in 1418 hectares in Kasagumuda block, 810 hectares in Nabarangpur block, 110 hectares in Tentulikhunti block, 4300 hectares in Raighar block, 926 hectares in Nandahandi block and 3370 hectares in Papadahandi, Dabugan, Jharigan and Chandahandi blocks in the district this year.

SugarcaneThe farmers have alleged that while agriculture remains the major source of livelihood in Nabarangpur district, the local leaders have taken the farmers for a ride by promising to set up agro-based industries in the district while doing nothing about it.

“While an in-principle decision has been taken to set up a sugar factory in an area of 200 acres at Churuchunda by the Nayagarh Sugar Complex since last two years, there is no construction work till date. Neither the state government nor the political leaders have the will to set up the proposed sugar factory in the district for the socio-economic development of the farmers,” said the disgruntled farmers.

With the harvesting season getting nearer, the farmers, whose crops have been badly damaged by the Cyclone Hudhud and those who have incurred substantial amount of loans, are now deeply worried over their future.