PROBLEMS FACED BY FARMERS IN CULTIVATION AND MARKETING OF SUGARCANE (With Special Reference to Erode District)

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1 PROBLEMS FACED BY FARMERS IN CULTIVATION AND MARKETING OF SUGARCANE (With Special Reference to Erode District) Dr. R. RAMA Associate Professor in Commerce, P.K.R. Arts College for Women (Autonomous), Gobichettipalayam ABSTRACT Agriculture is the major economic activity in Erode district providing employment to 59.68% of the work force. Nearly 3.09 lakh hectares of land accounting for 38% of the total land has been brought under cultivation.sugarcane is a commercial crop and hectares area is under cultivation in Erode district. At present there has been a decline in the cultivation of the crop due to varied reasons like lower procurement price, cost of cultivation, non-availability of finance, delay in payment by the sugar factories, rise in price of other crops etc. Against this background an attempt is made to study the problems of the farmers both in production and marketing. The respondents were asked to rank the problems involved in the production and marketingof sugarcane. Keywords : Sugarcane, Farmers, Cultivation, marketing Introduction India is considered to be the home land of sugarcane. It is the second largest producer of sugarcane in the world. Sugarcane is mainly used for making sugar. Uttar Pradesh ranks first in the production of sugarcane. The other sugarcane producing states are Bihar, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Agriculture is one of the most significant sectors of the Indian Economy.Sugarcane an old energy source for human beings and, more recently, a replacement of fossil fuel for motor vehicles, was first grown in South East Asia and Western India. India by contributing 20.4 % area and 18.6 % production ranks second among sugarcane growing countries of the world for both area and production of sugarcane. In India, sugarcane is an important cash crop in the agriculture sector, which share 7 % of the total value of agricultural output and occupies 25 % of the country s gross cropped area. Nearly 4 million hectors of land are under cultivation. It is the largest consumer with over 478 sugar factories located throughout the country. The sugar industry is amongst the largest agroprocessing industry in India, with an annual turnover of Rs.150 crores. Sugarcane Cultivation in Erode District The total geographical area of the district is 816,191 hectares. Of those 309,252 hectares have been brought under cultivation.agriculture is the major economic activity in this district providing employment to 59.68% of the work force. Nearly 3.09 lakh hectares of land accounting for 38% of the total land has been brought under cultivation. This constituted nearly 5.66% of the cropped area of the State. Total cultivable area in this district is 5.04 lakh hectares. The future of country's sugarcane production seem to decline as continuous delays in the payments to growers that will ultimately force the sugarcane growers to switch over to other crops. Delay in start of crushing leads to reduction of cane's weight and increase in its content of sucrose benefit mills owners

2 Statement ofthe Problem Sugarcane is a commercial crop and hectares area is under cultivation in Erode district. Though sugarcane production contributes 54% to GDP of India there is a considerable decline in production in the past years. There are many reasons like lower procurement price, cost of cultivation, non-availability of finance, delay in payment by the sugar factories, rise in price of other crops etc. Hence there is a need for the present study to fill the research gap that exists. Against this background an attempt is made to study the problems faced by the farmers in the cultivation and marketing of sugarcane. Objectives of the Study The present study is undertaken with the broad objective of evaluating the problems of the farmers in the cultivation and marketing of sugarcane in Erode district with the following objective. To study the socio economic conditions of farmers cultivating sugarcane To study the problems faced by the farmers in the cultivation of sugarcane To offer suggestions based on findings Hypotheses of the Study On the basis of the framed objectives, review of various studies and discussions and deliberations with experts an attempt has been made to frame and test the following hypotheses: There is no significant association between socio-economic characteristics (Gender, age, education, occupation and monthly income) of the sample farmers and the factors influencing them to cultivate sugarcane Methodology The present study is confined to Erode District of Tamil Nadu. It is based on both primary and secondary data. Convenient sampling method has been adopted. For the purpose of the study 200 respondents were chosen at random from five Taluks namely Athani, Sathy, Thottipalayam, Thookanaickenpalayam and Kavindapadi as the cultivation of the crop is carried out regularly by the farmers in these area. Data Source The study is based on primary data. In order to achieve the objectives of the study, the necessary primary data had been obtained from sugarcane growers of the study area with the help of an interview schedule. The required secondary data were gathered from published theses, project reports, crop-wise reports of the Department of Agriculture, Tamil Nadu government available in the libraries of Sugarcane Breeding Institute and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. Statistical Tools used The data were collected systematically, sorted, classified and arranged in tabular forms amenable for analysis. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences SPSS 16 has been used. Suitable statistical techniques like percentage, Chi-square, Spearman s Rank correlation have been applied to analyze the data. The sugarcane growers face two-dimensional problems viz., off the fields and on the fields, in other words problems encountered during cultivation as well as marketing of sugarcane. The various problems faced by the farmers during the cultivation of the crop has been classified as: Problems faced by the farmers in the cultivation of sugarcane. Problems faced by the farmers in the marketing of sugarcane

3 The farmers of the selected units were asked to rank the problems. To analyse the problems spearman s rank correlation has been applied. Problems in the Cultivationof Sugarcane Labour costs represent slightly over 45 % of the total production cost. Cutting and loading costs represent the highest portion of the variable cost. Since the transporting of cane requires bulk carriage, growers may not always have sufficient family members to do the work, forcing them to hire extra workers for cutting and loading. Farmer s production problems were classified in to ten categories. They are financial problem, labour shortage, high wage rate, water scarcity, severity of diseases, high price of inputs, lack of technology, poor quality of inputs, climate condition, and poor setts. The respondents were asked to rank the problems involved in the Cultivation of sugarcane. From the table 1.1 it is found that Financial Problem is ranked as first, High wage rate is ranked as second, Labour shortage is ranked as third and High price of inputs is ranked as fourth. Further Severity of diseases is ranked as fifth, Water scarcity is ranked as sixth, Poor quality of fertilizer and pesticides is ranked as seventh and Climate condition is ranked as eighth. Poor setts was ranked as ninth and Lack of technology was ranked as tenth. Thus, it is clear that finance is the main problem for the cultivation of sugarcane

4 TABLE 1.1 Problems Faced by the Farmers in the Cultivation of Sugarcane PRODUCTION RANK TOTAL MEAN PROBLEMS X SCORE SCORE RANK Financial problem F FX Labour shortage F FX High wage rate F FX Water scarcity F FX Severity of diseases F FX High price of F inputs FX Lack of technology F FX Poor quality of F fertilizer and FX pesticides Adverse climatic F condition FX Poor setts F FX x=scale value, f= No. of responses Source: Primary data 18

5 Problems in Marketing of Sugarcane Currently farmers of Tamil Nadu are facing the problem of delayed cutting orders ranging from 13 to 15 months as against the normal cutting order of 12 months. Due to this, the cane yield as well as sugar yield declines. Price remaining constant, due to reduction in yield because of delayed cutting orders farmers stand to get a lower amount from every unit of sugarcane cultivated. Because of good crop, the sugar mills are facing the problem of milling in time and giving cutting orders on time. Because of surplus production of sugar throughout the world, the sugar prices are dwindling. Marketing problems of sugarcane has been classified in to ten categories. The problems taken for the study include delay in payments, high commission charges, low price, price fluctuation, credit sales, lack of market information, forced sales, high cost of transport, market fees, and mal practices in weighing. TABLE 1.2 Problems Faced by the Farmers in the Marketing of Sugarcane MARKETING PROBLEMS Delay in payments RANK TOTAL MEAN SCORE SCORE RANK X F FX High commission charge F FX Low price F FX Price fluctuation F FX

6 Credit sales F FX Lack of market information F FX Forced sales F FX High cost of transport F FX Market fees F FX Malpractices in weighing F FX x=scale value, f= no. of responses Source : Primary Data 20

7 From the table1.2 it is found that the Delay in payments is ranked as first, Price fluctuation as second, High commission charge is ranked as third and Low price is ranked as fourth. Further Mal practices in weighing is ranked as fifth followed by Credit sales as sixth. High cost of transport is ranked as seventh, Market fees is ranked as eighth, Lack of market information as ninth and Forced sales was ranked as tenth and least problem. Thus, it is clear that delay in payment is the main problem in marketing of sugarcane in the district. Findings of the Study The profile of the farmers cultivating sugarcane in Erode District : It was found that 64% of the sample respondents are in the age group of years. A majority of the respondents (49.5%) are educated only upto school level. A majority the respondents (72.5%) are occupied in agricultural activities alone. A majority the respondents (78.5%) belong to nuclear family. It was found that 88% of the sample respondents are married. It was found that 80% of the sample respondent s family have 2 to 5 members. 75% of the respondents with 2-4 family members are engaged in agricultural operation. It was found that 43.5% of the sample respondents have an annual income ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs.1,00,000. The study reveals that 55% of the sample respondent s income is from business and profession. While analyzing the cost incurred for the cultivation of sugarcane it is found that that 70% of the samples respondents have own land. It was found that 67.5% of the respondents hold a land size of less than 2 acres. It was found that 71% of the respondents cultivate sugarcane in less than 2 acres. The study reveals that 43.5% of the respondents spent Rs.20,000-25,000 per acre towards the cultivation of sugarcane. It was found that 74% of the respondents borrow funds to meet the cost of cultivation. While analyzing the cultivation problems of sugarcane, financial problem is ranked as first and lack of technology ranked as last. While assessing the marketing problems faced by sugarcane farmers delay in payments is ranked as first and Forced sale was ranked as tenth. It has been found that the farmers are not forced by the sugarmills to sell the cane. Suggestions Based on the findings of the study the following suggestions are given by the researcher. The study reveals that 71% of the respondents cultivate sugarcane in less than 2acres. Hence, it is suggested that the farmers need to increase their area of cultivation in order to increase productivity and their income. It is interesting to note from the study that a majority of the sample respondents (70%) have own land. Hence, it is suggested that if the farmers are given the required finance support, there is no doubt that they can perform better

8 The study reveals that 74% of the respondents borrow funds to meet the cultivation expenditure. Hence, it is suggested that if the farmers are made aware of the available institutional credit their problems will be solved to a greater extent. It is found that a majority of the farmers (78.5%) prefer to sell sugarcane for cash sales. Hence, it is suggested that financial institutions and marketing agencies should come forward to extend temporary grants at a reasonable rate of interest to prevent distress sale. The study reveals that the farmers are willing to sell their cane to sugar factories as payment is assured. Hence, it is suggested that the sugar factories may maintain the schedule of payment. The study reveals that financial difficulty is the main problem among the farmers cultivating sugar cane. Hence, it is suggested that the sugar factories may arrange for payments as early as possible, which will not drive the farmers to borrow from unorganized sector. It is suggested that the bankers have to create awareness among cane growers about the services rendered by them. The study reveals that the farmers are suffering at times due to inadequate supply of water. Hence, it is suggested that Department of Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu has to take steps to ensure adequate irrigation at the appropriate time. Conclusion Agriculture is the most important income source of Erode district. Paddy, plantain, silk, cotton, turmeric, coconut and sugarcane are some of the major products from agriculture and allied industries. In spite of its growing demand, there are a number of problems which affect the sugarcane farmers in sustaining their production and increasing their profit. On the ecological front also sugarcane cultivation is becoming a difficult task, due to its water-guzzling nature.however, the sugarcane cultivating farmers in the district under study are not happy that there are constraints faced by them viz., cultivation and marketing of cane and cane products at large. Since, irrigation in the area is predominantly canal based which is largely influenced by the seasonal characteristics of monsoon; all round efforts can be undertaken to strengthen the tubewell system of irrigation by extending adequate support to farmers. Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) is one such method of sugarcane cultivation which uses less input in a sustainable manner. It involves less seeds, less water and optimum land utilization to achieve more yields. By practice, SSI farmers can very well increase their productivity by reducing the use of inputs like fertilizers and saving the vital resources like water simultaneously. Hence, it is very much possible for sugarcane farmers to reap greater economical benefits. References 1. Adnan Nazir, 2013, Factors Affecting Sugarcane Production in Pakistan, Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences, Vol.7(1), pp Clainos, C. and Ledwin, C.(2011). Economic Challenges of Sugar cane Production in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe 3. Everlyn, A.D. (2013), The Managerial Factors Influencing Sugarcane Production by Farmers of Mayoni Division, Mumias Sugar Company in Kenya. 4. Fuchaka, W., Joseph, P.G., Mwamburi, M. (2012), Contract Sugarcane Farming and Farmers. income in the Lake Victoria basin, Kenya,.A journal of Applied Biosciences, 52: ISSN MuhammedAzam and Mukarram Khan, 2010, Significance of the sugarcane crops with special reference to NWFP, Sarhad Journal of Agriculture, Vol.26, N0.2, pp

9 6. Prakas. A and Muniyandi. B, (2014), An Economic Analysis Sugarcane Cultivation in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu, Publication by Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, Vol. LXXI, October, p Shanmugam, M., S. Paneerselvam and Manoharan, (2011), Sugarcane juice and its health benefits Kisan World, pp39: Tamilselvi. D, 2012, Sugarcane : Tamil Nadu leads the way towards Higher yields, Market Survey, Facts for You, June, pp Journals Facts for you Kissan World Southern Economist Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative - Training Manual International Crops Research Institute for semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Unpublished thesis Karri NarasimhaPusappa, 2013, Economics of Sugarcane Cultivation in Andhra Pradesh A Case study of Visakhapatnam District, Unpublished Ph.D.,thesis. Websites

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