Kendrapara, Feb 16 (LocalWire): Sugarcane cultivation is on a rapid decline in the coastal district of Kendrapara.
Closure of sugar mills and limited access to markets are the main reasons behind the shrinking sugarcane cultivation in the district.
“The closure of a sugar mill in Krushnadaspur village three decades ago served a death blow to the sugarcane growers.
Sugarcane cultivation has been falling continuously over the years and if the trend continues, within a decade the crop will vanish from the agriculture map of the district. Many sugarcane farmers have already switched to other crops,” said Akshya Behera, a sugarcane farmer of Pattamundai.
Sugarcane is grown mainly in Garadapur, Marsaghai, Derabishi, Pattamundai, Aul, Rajkanika and Mahakalapada blocks of Kendrapara district.
Sugarcane cultivation area in the district has shrunk to around 5000 hectares this year from 15,000 hectares a decade back.
The Chief Minister and other leaders had promised to establish a sugar mill in the district. However, they failed to keep their promises after the poll, said Umesh Chandra Singh, a farmers’ leader and the president of the district unit of Krushak Sabha.
Odisha requires 2.21 lakh metric tonnes of sugar annually but only two of the eight sugar mills in the state are operational, stated Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Ranendra Pratap Swain in the Assembly two years back.
Due to closure of the sugar mills, the sorry plight of the sugarcane farmers is yet to be abated. It is high time on the part of the government to reopen all the defunct sugar mills and establish more mills in the state, added Singh.
Ashok Mahasuar, the Chief District Agriculture Officer (CDAO) of Kendrapara said, “Due to lack of proper marketing of sugarcane and closure of sugar mills, the extent of sugarcane cultivation is coming down drastically in the district.”