The Sanjivani sugar factory, which has been in the red for a pretty long period is gradually returning on the tracks to break even...
PANAJI: The Sanjivani sugar factory, which has been in the red for a pretty long period is gradually returning on the tracks to break even, with the un-audited figures for the financial year 2009-2010 showing a loss of only Rs 24.10 lakh as against the loss of Rs 5.30 crore during the year 2008-2009 and that of Rs 7.60 crore during the year 2007-2008.
The problems of the lone sugar factory in the state are however, far from being over with the local production of sugarcane having considerably declined, while the supply of sugarcane from the neighbouring Karnataka state having also come down.
“The production of sugar in the factory is dependent upon the supply of sugarcane and as there is less production of sugarcane in the catchment area, production of sugar has naturally decreased,” the Minister for Co-operation, Mr Ravi Naik had informed during the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the state Assembly. In 2006-2007, sugarcane production in the state was 1,92,685 quintals, then it dropped to 1,46,155 quintals in 2007-08, while it further decreased to 94,045 quintals in 2008-09.
It had also been informed that supply of sugarcane from Karnataka to Goa had gone down because of the increase of local demand in that state. Some of the other reasons for the sugar production at the Dharbandora-based sugar factory going down are the increased cost of production, non availability labourers for harvesting and so on.
A number of incentives are being given to the local farmers, besides village level motivation programmes being conducted around the state. The government had also granted ` 48 lakh as support price to the factory in the year 2007-08. The factory has further bought a machine worth around Rs 1.07 crore for harvesting sugarcane, with financial assistance from the government, in order to meet the shortage of manpower for sugarcane plantation.
Incidentally, although the recovery rate of sugarcane in other parts of the country is 10 per cent and above, it is much less in Goa, and fluctuates between 7 and 8 per cent. The Sanjivani sugar factory has now come out with a scheme to induce farmers to increase RR of their sugarcane. As per this scheme, farmers will now get 2 per cent more on the assured price of sugarcane if they have RR between 9 and 9.5 per cent. If a farmer manages to get RR above 9.5 per cent, he will be paid 4 per cent more on the assured price of sugarcane.
Last season, the sugar factory had paid the local farmer Rs 1,500 per metric tonne of sugarcane. The rates in fact fluctuate every season as per the market demand. Though the hot and humid conditions of the region are responsible for the low RR, other problems related to irrigation and harvesting are also contributing to this scenario.
Interestingly, the Vasantdada Sugar Institute, Pune, acting as a consultant to the Sanjivani sugar factory had recommended that the factory must explore the possibility for establishment of co-generation plant and a mini distillery unit, besides establishing a rice mill under the central government scheme, in order to generate additional revenue.
The Sanjivani sugar factory, during past 3 years has recruited altogether 50 people, most of them due to the retirement or resignation of its existing staff. The sugar factory has also launched M/s Sanjivani Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Voluntary Retirement Scheme since 2004, for its permanent seasonal employees and those permanent employees who have completed 10 years of continuous service.