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Cyclone Gaja robs sugarcane of sweetness

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Cyclone Gaja has had an adverse impact on the yield of edible sugarcane, known as ‘senkarumbu’ which is an essential part of Pongal, in Thanjavur district.

According to a rough estimate, sugarcane is raised on about 200 hectares in various parts of the district, including Surakottai, Kattur, Orathanadu and others. Since, Pongal is round the corner, the farmers have begun the process of harvesting the cane so as to transport them for sales to different parts of the State. But, due to the poor yield of sugarcane, caused by the cyclone, the farmers are a unhappy lot.

As against the average of 30,000 sugarcane on an acre, the yield has come down to 15,000 to 20,000. Farmers said that the strong wind had broken at least one third of sugarcane raised on the fields and has also stunted the growth of the cane to some extent.

“This has not been a normal year. The cyclone has caused extensive loss and we are not able to recoup the loss sustained on account of broken sugarcane,” says S. Shanmugam of Soorakottai.

He said there has been a great demand for sugarcane from traders. The distribution of sugarcane as part of Pongal gift by the State government had also shot up the demand. However, the farmers were not in a position to cash in on the demand due to poor yield.

Mr. Shanmugam added that rate of 1,000 sugarcane had gone up from ₹14,000 to ₹15,000 at the field. The retail prices of the cane is also likely to go up in most towns and cities.

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