New Delhi, Jan 25 : Union Food Ministry on Thursday said the sugarcane price arrears in the current season of 2017-18 were "relatively lower"and sugar mill owners owed Rs 7,826 crore to farmers on the basis of State Advisory Price (SAP) against Rs 8,982 crore during the corresponding period last year.
"Despite higher production and lower sugar prices in the current season as compared to previous sugar season, the cane price arrears are relatively lower than the previous season as a consequence of various measures (by Centre and state governments)," as per a release.
The crushing of sugarcane during the current season is in full swing and the mills will be able to liquidate their cane dues by the sale of sugar and their by-products in coming days, the Ministry added.
The Ministry also said about 99.9 per cent of cane dues for sugar season 2016-17 on the Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) were cleared.
"Even the cane price arrears for sugar season 2016-17 have been reduced to only Rs 52 crore (on FRP basis) and Rs 1,076 Crores (on SAP basis) against cane dues payable of Rs 57,608 crore," said the statement.
"Even in respect of 2015-16 sugar season, only Rs 122 crore (on FRP basis) and Rs 710 crore (on SAP basis) are pending and payments for earlier year arrears are in process."
As per the government estimates, sugar production this year is going to touch the 25 million tonnes mark, almost 25 per cent hike compared to that of last year.