Opt for sustainable sugarcane initiative, farmers told
Taking a break:Agricultural Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, Sandeep Saxena (left), Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University K. Ramasamy (second left), and Director of Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu, M. Rajendran (third left), at a seminar in Coimbatore on Saturday.– PHOTO: S.SIVA SARAVANAN
Efforts are needed to create awareness among sugarcane farmers on the need to conserve water and to go in for sustainable sugarcane initiative, according to Sandeep Saxena, Agricultural Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Drought Management and Improving Sugarcane Productivity’ organised here on Saturday by the South Indian Sugar Mills’ Association and Sugarcane Breeding Institute, he said that farm ponds should be developed. In delta area, 3,000 to 4,000 farm ponds have come up. There should be regular interaction between industry, research institutes, and the Government.
According to the Director of Sugarcane Breeding Institute N. Vijayan Nair, the instituted carried out a drought survey in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the first week of August. Almost all cane growing areas had received 50 per cent or more deficit rainfall. This would affect seed availability for the next season.
With area under sugarcane declining, the sugar industry would be under pressure and the mills might face shortage of cane. This would have an impact on sugar production. In some places, farmers were in distress and did not have insurance cover.
M. Rajendran, Director of Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu, said that in several places, area under sugarcane was coming back to rice production. The opportunities for the sugar sector in ethanol should be explored further.
K. Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, said industry should support the institutes for research and scientists should work with the industry to address its challenges.
Palani G. Periasamy, president of the association (Tamil Nadu), said the sugar industry in the State faced several challenges and for the 2014-2015 season, sugar production in the State was expected to be just about 13 lakh tonnes.
Production was declining for the last three seasons and the area under sugarcane was also declining. Another area of concern was the drop in average yield per acre of sugarcane. The association will collaborate with the State Agricultural University and establish a chair to address the issues faced by the sugarcane industry. The association would also take up funding of research projects related to the sector, he said.