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Sustainable sugarcane initiative brings sweet tidings

M. Balaganessin
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Exhibition gives a peek into advantages of latest agricultural practices

cut for the task:Collector Jayashree Muralidharan cutting a sugarcane using bud-chipper at National Research Centre for Banana at Pothavur near Tiruchi. —Photo:M.Srinath
cut for the task:Collector Jayashree Muralidharan cutting a sugarcane using bud-chipper at National Research Centre for Banana at Pothavur near Tiruchi. —Photo:M.Srinath

An exhibition set up as part of the farmers' grievances day meeting on National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) campus near here on Wednesday, provided an opportunity for farmers to know about advantages of latest agricultural practices.Several departments and private sugar factories had set up stalls on the advantages of agricultural practices.

The stall to explain importance of sustainable sugarcane initiative (SSI)–one of the much-publicised schemes by the agriculture department attracted a lot of visitors.

The use of a simple device, ‘bud-chipper' for preparing the ‘seeds' from the mother cane; the neatly arranged trays showing the protection of the seeds under the mix of coir pith and vermicompost; the generation of saplings and their growth in different stages were neatly displayed. After a month's time after transplantation, each plant accounted for 20 tillers–which means 20 sugarcane, says K.Jothinathan, Head - Cane of Kothari Sugars and Chemicals, which set up the stall using the sugarcane variety, ‘Co-86032', cultivated on a field in Kottapatti Pudhur village near Manapparai.

He said that SSI benefited farmers on various counts. “It avoided wastage of cane. Farmers now need only one-quarter of sugarcane per acre for raising seeds in portray method, as against the old method of one tonne per acre”.

The number of tillers is 20 against the conventional benefit of just 8 or 12 tillers. The average per acre yield has nearly doubled from 37.5 tonnes in the old method to 70 tonnes under the SSI,” Mr.Jothinathan explained.

He urged the farmers to cut off the tip of the plant before transplanting, so that it would the transplantation shock.

“Otherwise, the entire plant would re-germinate after completely withering away, which would delay the cultivation process.

Jayshree Muralidharan, Collector, who went around the exhibition, was surprised to look at the different stages of the plant right from its germination.

She also prepared a few seeds using the bud-chipper.

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