Image Credits: Know Your Heritage
CHENNAI: With the unpredictable climatic conditions, particularly erratic monsoon, hitting the agricultural production in Tamil Nadu at times, the agriculture department is putting thrust on propagation of high-yielding sugarcane varieties through a project, Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI), aimed at making the ryots reap rich with minimum efforts and investments.
Standing fourth in the country with an acreage of 3.17 lakh hectares and annual cane production of 336 lakh tons, TN farmers often face adverse conditions, including water shortage and low yield. Unpredictable climate, negligent plant protection, mono cropping and improper cultivation practices are cited as factors behind low yield.
Against this background, the project has come as a boon to farmers because it leads to increase in production and improve sugar recovery.
Certain sugarcane varieties developed by the Sugarcane Breeding Institute at Coimbatore are considered as high-yielding and they will be provided to the farmers under the SSI. “We have been taking steps to propagate high-yielding sugarcane varieties such as Co 2012, CoC-25, Co 09004 and Clone 29442 through the SSI,” a top officer of the Agriculture department told Express. The department would procure bud chip seedlings and tissue culture plants from the Sugarcane Breeding Institute and distribute them to the farming community, he added.
Farmers can realise an yield of 125 tons per hectare under the SSI method of cultivation against 100 tonnes through the conventional method. In trial plots, these varieties have registered a higher yield ranging from 20 to 35 tonnes per hectare than the conventional field.
The government provides the farmers with a financial assistance of `9,000 per hectare if they switch over to the SSI method of cane growing, besides offering them technological support and supply of high quality bud chips.
For 2017-18, the government allocated funds close to ` 30 crore. The main advantages of adopting cultivation methods under SSI are judicious use of water for irrigating the crop, better moisture level, less number of seeds and availability of space for inter-cropping.
Advantages of Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative
25% more yield than normal farming
A9000 Farmers to get financial assistance
Co 2012, CoC-25, Co 09004, Clone 29442 to be propagated:
*Bud chips/ setts to be provided
*Technological support and guidance to be extended
*Improves sugar recovery, ensures more price
*Less water, seeds required
*Judicious use of water, scope for inter-cropping