Agri Business

TN govt launches ‘Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative'

| | Updated on: Nov 23, 2011
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The Tamil Nadu Government has launched Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative, aimed at promoting a novel cultivation system to enhance crop productivity and efficiency in sugarcane.

The initiative will be implemented initially over 7,500 acres. The State Government has announced a package including fiscal incentives such as a subsidy of Rs 10,000 an acre for encouraging fertigation, application of fertilisers in solution through drip irrigation systems, and using a nutrient known as sugarcane booster.

The Tamil Nadu Government has also announced 100 per cent subsidy for small farmers to set up micro irrigation facilities and 75 per cent subsidy for other farmers. The agriculture university will provide the training in this method of cultivating sugarcane.

The Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative involves application of specific techniques beginning from the seed stage through the duration of cultivation up to harvest.

This includes use of drip irrigation, application of precise levels of nutrients and other agronomic practices including wider spacing between sugarcane plants to enable healthier growth. The objective is to increase yields and sugar content in the cane while bringing down costs to augment farmers' income.

Higher yield

According to Agriculture Department officials, sugarcane booster is a nutrient in solution form developed by the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University. It helps increase yields of a range of crops.

A major saving for the farmers is in the seed stage itself. In the conventional system farmers use three node lengths of sugarcane with 2-3 buds, known as a sett, as a seed to raise sugarcane. So several tonnes of sugarcane as used as seeds. But in the new system, a single bud is chipped off, raised in a nursery like a sapling, and then transplanted to the field.

This assures survival of the cane in the field while saving on the quantity of sugarcane used as a seed. When followed up with the recommended systems of cultivation, farmers get sugarcane yields significantly higher than the 105 tonne a hectare recorded in Tamil Nadu. Yields can go up to 180 tonnes. With mills paying farmers around Rs 2,000 a tonne, the increase in yield will mean a substantial growth in farmers' income, the officials said.

rbalaji@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 23, 2011

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