Productivity of 50,000 acres of sugarcane fields to be improved: official

June 09, 2013 11:53 am | Updated 11:53 am IST - COIMBATORE:

Encouraged by the success made in rice production under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) programme that was launched in 2004, the State Government now wants to give a boost to sugarcane cultivation under the Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) developed by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).

B.J. Pandian, Director of Water Technology Centre of TNAU, told reporters here on Saturday that the SSI was based on the principles of ‘more with less’ to improve the productivity of water, land and labour, while reducing the overall pressure on water resources involved in sugarcane cultivation. The initiative was introduced to farmers in the State in 2010.

They had been practising it on a trial basis since then. So far, nearly 7,000 acres of sugarcane area belonging to farmers had been brought under the SSI fold.

With the trials yielding good results, the State plans to bring 50,000 acres belonging to 42 sugar mills in the State under the programme in 2013-14.

“The idea is to make the sugar mills in the State adopt SSI gradually so that most of the area under sugarcane cultivation can be covered in the XII Five Year Plan. The yield expectancy using SSI is 175 to 200 tonnes a hectare as against the 102 tonnes a hectare under the conventional method. The initiative is also ideal for intercropping patterns,” the Director said.

SSI was significant because of the fact that though Tamil Nadu led the nation in terms of productivity with 105 tonnes a hectare, it still stagnated over the last 30 years.

There was no significant growth or increase. There was an urgent need to address this because of depleting resources such as water and land. In Tamil Nadu, sugarcane is cultivated on 3 lakh hectares with an average productivity of 105 tonnes / hectare. The total production of sugarcane is 357 lakh tonnes and that of sugar is 25 lakh tonnes.

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