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Sweet jaggery turns bitter for these producers

Last updated: 17 August, 2010
Chamarajanagar, August 17, DH News Service: 23:33 IST

This agri business facing scarcity of labourers, power

Jaggery that brings sweetness and cheers among the people has brought bitterness.

Farmer busy in  jaggery making at a unit in Chamarajanagar district.  DH photoThose who are involved in the business in Chamarajanagar are incurring heavy losses.
The sharp decline in the prices of jaggery blocks and loss in business have forced several ‘Aalemane’ owners to close down. It is said that these jaggery blocks used to fetch good price earlier resulting in good business and profit. But the current scenario is completely different.

The jaggery blocks that were produced in the district was in huge demand across the country and was transported to other states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and others. The Bannur jaggery is famous, for it was said to bring additional flavour to the sweet delicacies.

But that seems to be long forgotten as the production costs including labourer problems are proving expensive for the Aalemane owners.

It is said that around 100 kgs of jaggery can be produced from one tonne of sugar cane. The cost of sugar cane is Rs 1,650 per tonne and tractor charges of Rs 250.

Apart from these, Rs 500 should be spent for coconut oil, hydrose and other materials.
Five people are needed for producing one quintal of jaggery and each should be paid Rs 160 per day. Added to these is the electricity charges for using cane crushing machine and generator for the same. After shelling out so much for producing one quintal jaggery, the traders get a selling price of Rs 2,200 per tonne, which does not work out for them.
There are sugar cane growers who also own Aalemanes and there are also some who buy sugar cane and produce jaggery. They say that they are not getting expected profit, which is making them difficult to continue with the business.

There are more than 50 Aalemanes at Haradanahalli and surrounding areas in the taluk which produces around six quintal of jaggery every day and they are transported to various places in the state, but are not yielding profit to them.

The labourers problem too are haunting these jaggery makers along with the irregular load shedding as it is becoming difficult to crush cane without power. They are forced to make alternative arrangements like generator, which is adding to their costs and finally, there is no profit, they lament.

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