BELAGAVI: In what could be a bonanza for sugarcane farmers in taluks bordering Maharashtra , factories in the neighbouring state are eyeing produce from Karnataka , after lakhs of hectares of cane were destroyed by floodwaters. Factories in Maharashtra are offering Karnataka farmers sops on their produce. These factories are targeting crops in Athani, Chikkodi and Raibag in Belagavi district. Factories in Karnataka crush around 4 lakh tonnes of cane per season. However, this year, almost 55% of crops were destroyed by floods. The situation in Maharashtra is worse. Kolhapur district alone lost more than 60% of crops. So factories there are looking elsewhere for cane. Farmers in Karnataka generally prefer to sell their produce in Maharashtra since factories there offer better prices. Last year, factories in Maharashtra offered Rs 2,700 to Rs 3,000 per tonne, while the price in Karnataka never rose beyond Rs 2,400. Besides, with the government still dilly-dallying over flood compensation, farmers are more than ever inclined to sell their produce to Maharashtra factories which are offering an advance to buy fertilizer for the next crop, instant payments and major discounts in cutting and harvesting charges. Factory personnel approach farmers directly.
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