No skilled hands, sugar factories in South Gujarat go hi-tech

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by Predator, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

    Apr 25, 2012
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    SURAT: Faced with the perennial shortage of cane cutters, sugar mills in south Gujarat have started adopting hi-tech techniques for better harvesting.

    In the last one-and-a-half-year, about 33 hi-tech cane harvester machines have been purchased by various sugar factories in the region to tide over the shortage of skilled hands. The cane cutters, mostly migrant labourers from the Dang and bordering Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, have stopped coming to far-flung areas as they are getting work easily in their native villages.

    Sugar co-operatives claim that the dearth has been fuelled by central government's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme ( NAREGA) coupled with unwillingness of the young generation of cane cutters to follow the footsteps of their elders. Against the average 100 tonnes sugarcane required for crushing in a day, the sugar factories are getting less than 60 tonnes. Factories claim to be suffering losses of Rs 4 lakh - Rs 5 lakh per hour for keeping the crushing equipment switched off.

    If all the 17 sugar factories have to shut their crushing equipment for an average of two hours per day, the total losses would be around Rs 1.70 crore per day.

    "There is no other option left with the sugar co-operatives and cane farmers but to go for hi-tech cane harvesting instead of depending on cane cutters," president, Federation of Gujarat State Co-operative Sugar Factories (FGSCSF), Mansinh Patel said.

    Patel said Gujarat contributes about 6 to 7 per cent in total sugar production in the country. Gujarat has about 17 sugar factories - 15 sugar factories in south Gujarat region and two in Saurashtra, where about 126 lakh tonnes of sugarcane is crushed in the entire season yielding sugar production of 12.6 lakh tonnes.

    Each of the sugar factories in the region employ about 3,500 to 15,000 cane cutting workers for cutting lakhs of tonnes of sugarcane.

    "If the annual sugar production of a sugar factory is 10,000 tones, about 17-20 lakh tonnes of sugarcane is required for crushing. An automatic harvesting machine costs Rs 1 crore and the output is about 40 to 50 tonnes per hour, which we cannot get manually," an office-bearer of Madhi Sugar Co-operative, which is facing shortage of about 4,000 workers out of the total requirement of 10,000 cane cutting workers, said.

    Chandan Mishra, assistant manager at New Holland Fiat (India) Private Limited, supplier of mechanized sugarcane harvesting machine in south Gujarat, said, "The demand for mechanized harvesting machines is increasing from the sugarcane belt of south Gujarat. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Navsari Agriculture University (NAU) for imparting technical knowledge to students wanting to operate the machine."
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  3. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    In my native place also rice is being harvested using harvesters due to labour shortage to NAREGA. Farmers hire harvesters during harvest season.

    What will happen in long term due to NAREGA ? Is this helping the rural poor or is it just making farming costlier ?
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Even in MP, I have seen these massive Combined Harvesters chugging along the road.

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