Sugarcane growers excluded from Agri loan access for lack of Form 7 in degraded forests

Farm workers are pictured collecting sugarcane.

Sugarcane growers involved in degraded forests cannot get access to agricultural loans for the lack of land use certificate (Form 7), U Win Htay, vice chair of Myanmar Sugar and Sugarcane Products Association.
Therefore, the related departments should relinquish the degraded forests for years after an inspection tour. The farmers who grow sugarcane in those forests had better be granted Form 7 to have a chance of getting an agricultural loan, he continued.
“For agricultural expansion, the growers have cultivated sugarcane for 15-20 years. However, those acres are not listed as agricultural land. As a result of this, Form 7 is not issued for them and the growers cannot acquire agricultural loans. That is why they are limited to expanding production.  I would like to request the department concerned to surrender land for non-forest use unless the forests can be restored and to issue Form 7 for the sugarcane growers across the country,” U Win Htay highlighted.
Sugarcane will be offered at K90,000 per tonne for the upcoming sugarcane season, sugarcane millers notified.
Additionally, new sugarcane growers will be contributed a cultivation loan of K200,000 per acre in advance for the 2023-2024 season.
Last 2021-2022 sugarcane season, the price was quoted at K60,000 per tonne only. This year, the offering price increased on account of the rise in sugar price, high agricultural input cost and expansion of acreage, sugar and sugarcane businesspersons said.
Despite the price hike, sugarcane growers called for better deals amid the soaring input cost and fuel price rise.
Low inventory in domestic markets and lack of sugar imports pushed the sugar price to the highest. In the 2019-2020 season, sugar prices stayed below K1,000 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilogrammes). The prevailing price of sugar surged to over K2,500 per viss.
Approximately, 450,000 acres of sugarcane are grown across the country this year, with an annual production of 450,000 tonnes of sugar. Sugar was conveyed to China and Viet Nam in the past years beyond self-sufficiency.  Now, it is only shipped to Viet Nam, according to Myanmar Sugar and Sugarcane-Products Association.
Sugarcane is commonly found in the upper Sagaing Region, followed by northern Shan State. It is also found in the western and eastern Bago Region, Yangon Region and Mandalay Region.
The sugarcane is grown in December-January. It can be harvested from November to February of the following years. The sugarcane growing rotation cycle lasts four years in Myanmar. — NN/GNLM

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