The role of Government in socio-economic development is that of a facilitator. The actual work in agriculture development is through the efforts of scientists and farmers. The launch of this website is the result of such an effort, K. Jayakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, said here on Friday.

Launching the website of the Sugarcane Breeding Institute, he said that technology offered immense opportunities to farmers to know more about their areas of interest. Use of information and communication technology in the form of Web 2.0, Facebook, and video conferencing should be used to create Web communities of farmers.

Appreciating the role of sugarcane farmers in the creation of the website, Mr. Jayakumar said: “Such participation will also aid in proficiency development of the farming community. Focus group discussions and collaboration with the research institutes like these are not available in many places.Farmers should make use of such facilities.”

M. Manickam, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Sakthi Sugars Limited, said the price of sugarcane had always been a bone of contention among the public.

“It is essential to increase the income of sugarcane farmers without increasing the production costs,” he said.

N. Vijayan Nair, Director, Sugarcane Breeding Institute, said the website is a dynamic one and user-centric that reflected the technology development at the institute which provided a forum for farmers across the country to share their views.

“It is different because it has been developed according to the needs of the farmers. In India, nearly 4.5 million hectares is under sugarcane cultivation next only to cotton. Growth has also increased tremendously. This has been possible through the use of various technologies. Nevertheless, many farmers have opted out of sugarcane and moved on to less expensive crops. Hence, it is necessary to reduce the cost of production and make it more profitable and also improve productivity with proper input management,” Mr. Nair said.

Pointing out that the available technologies are quite competitive in terms of achieving high yields, Mr. Nair said technology has to reach the farmer for this to happen.

The website is the best way to achieve this as this will work as a single point delivery system for the whole country.

D. Puthira Prathap, Principal Investigator of CaneInfo, explained the efforts that went into the conception, design and launch of the website.

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