ICAR -Sugarcane Breeding Institute Director G. Hemaprabha on Saturday said the area under sugarcane in Tamil Nadu had marginally increased from 1.548 lakh hectares in 2021-22 to 1.61 lakh hectare in 2022-23.
Speaking at the 53rd sugarcane research and development workshop of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry at Theni, she said the average sugarcane yield in the State, however, had decreased from 109.24 tonnes /ha in 2021-22 to 104.78 tonnes /ha during 2022-23, which was cause for concern.
The recent varieties released from ICAR -Sugarcane Breeding Institute such as Co 11015, Co 18009 and Co 14012 showed promise and the forthcoming seasons would be closely monitored as the results might be encouraging due to the extensive R&D, she added.
Inaugurating the workshop, Theni Collector R. V. Shajeevana, who also released a Compendium of research articles and status papers, said the sugarcane area in Theni district had come down from 3,046 ha to 2,077 ha during 2021-22.
Both the Tamil Nadu government and Rajshree Sugars in the district were offering several incentives for sugarcane growers such as single bud planting subsidy and chip bud seedling planting subsidy through the Kalaignar All Village Integrated Agriculture Development programme.
Providing an interface between researchers and development personnel, the workshops ensured timely and effective transfer of the latest technologies developed at research stations to sugarcane growers, Ms Shajeevana said.
In her presidential address, Rajshree Pathy, Chairperson, Rajshree Sugars & Chemicals Limited. called upon cane development in the State to impress upon farmers to take up sugarcane cultivation by proving a package for improving the yield and their net income. Exorbitant labour charges and labour scarcity had forced factories of Tamil Nadu to go for end-to-end mechanisation.
Additional Director (Sugar), Tamil Nadu, M. Palanivelu, B. Balagandhi, Director of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Puducherry, R. Ravikesavan of TNAU, R. Varadarajan, Director, Rajshree Sugars, and Dhanalakshmi, Joint Director of Agriculture, Theni, spoke.
The workshop discussed the current status of mechanical harvesting in the region, varietal position and performance of new sugarcane varieties, among other topics.
About 300 delegates comprising scientists from ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore, and TNAU, Coimbatore, Cane development Department personnel from various sugar factories of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, officials from the Department of Agriculture, Directorate of Sugar and other cane development organisations attended.
Rajshree Sugars had organised an exhibition of recent and popular sugarcane varieties, machinery and agricultural inputs at the venue at the workshop, which concluded on Saturday.