Why Covid has made sugarcane sweet, and grapes sour, for Maharashtra farmers


About 10 many years ago, when Dada Jadhav made a decision to change from sugarcane to grape cultivation on his two-acre land, he was hoping to earn handsome cash. He invested about ₹6 lakh in the first section to elevate infrastructure, which include drip irrigation. However, grape by no means turned sweet for him. Cultivation charges went increasing and in the last few many years, erratic temperature and unseasonal rainfall have harmed his produce on a regular basis. The price of pesticides and labour has practically doubled and Covid-19-induced lockdowns and limits have crippled Dada wholly.

Very last week, he slash down the winery and marketed iron wires, cement pillars and other content applied for grape cultivation and is the moment once again readying the industry for sugarcane. “ Accurate, sugarcane is a lazy man’s crop. You sow it and then harvest it without the need of a great deal input like fertilizer and pesticides. But this crop will rescue modest farmers in the hour of disaster,” says Dada.

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“There are lots of modest farmers who have stopped grape cultivation and are turning to sugarcane. Grape cultivation has grow to be costly. Proficient labourers demand ₹500 per working day and pesticide rates are unaffordable. Many tried their hand at raisins but there is no marketplace. Now, the Condition government is once again coming out with limits and we are not in a placement to find the money for any losses,” provides Bharat Patil, a farmer from Miraj. Patil has also axed his grape creepers.

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Glut in raisin manufacturing

Maharashtra ranks very first in terms of grape manufacturing, accounting for extra than 81.22 per cent of complete manufacturing and the maximum productivity in the region, although in sugarcane cultivation the Condition follows Uttar Pradesh.

Farmers in Miraj say that they have not even recovered manufacturing price for the last two seasons and last calendar year was disastrous owing to lockdowns, which pulled down the demand in the marketplace. Those people who turned to raisins facial area extra losses as raisins well worth ₹900 crore were caught in cold storages in Sangli, one particular of the popular grape-manufacturing districts in Maharashtra. Raisin manufacturing in the Condition doubled last calendar year as farmers who were not able to get their grapes to marketplace owing to lockdown turned to raisin-creating. The believed raisin manufacturing in Maharashtra has absent up to about 2.5 lakh tonnes (lt) from the ordinary annual manufacturing of one.eighty lt.

Additional sugarcane in the offing

“ It seems that this year once again will be caught in Covid-19. Smaller grape cultivators who offer their deliver in the domestic marketplace are now wholly damaged. They are not able to find the money for any losses and hence there will be lots of who would change to sugarcane cultivation. This is likely to end result in one more document sugarcane season”, explained agriculture researcher Sominath Gholwe.

Sugar mills in Maharashtra have crushed about 961 lakh tonnes of sugarcane this year, which is the maximum at any time in the background of the Condition and the sugar year even now proceeds. In accordance to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), Maharashtra’s net cane location has absent up by about 48 per cent in 2020-21 sugar year. As from the net cane location of seven.76 lakh ha in 2019-twenty, sugarcane location is about 11.48 lakh ha in 2020-21.