Coimbatore,Aug 25 (PTI)Major stakeholders in the sugarcane industry, including scientists and industrialists, were unanimous for bringing one third of sugarcane cultivation under Sustainable Sugarcane Initiatiive (SSI) by the end of 12th Plan, to meet the increasing demand for sugar, fuel and energy needs, while reducing the seed cane and water.

Those who participated in the two-day first Natioinal Seminar on SSI, which concluded here today, were of the opinion that every state government, citing example of Tamil Nadu, has to set up state targets by consulting the sugar factories for promoting SSI. Dr Vijayan Nair, Director, Sugarcane Breeding Institute, here said time has come for vertical expansion of agriculture through production enhancement, as horizontal expansion was not possible owing to shortage of land.

The seed cost and fuel cost for irrigation were estimated to be around 15 and 14 per cent of the total cost of cultivation, which was next only to labour cost of 21 per cent, he said. R Gnanaoli, Deputy Director, Agriculture Department, Tamil Nadu Government, said the Government had fixed a target of 10,000 hectares to promote SSI in the state, which stood first in sugar production for the last 10 years. The growers cultivated sugarcane in 3.25 lakh hectare and produced 325 lakh metric tonnes of sugar cane, he said. However, there was production disparity from area to area, as five districts produced 100 tonnes per hectare, while other districts yielded only 40 tonnes per hectare, he said.

In his inaugural address, S K Mitra, Executive Director, NABARD said there was the need to promote farmers' participation in the value chain than just confining them to productivity to improve profits in the light of new challenges, like climate change. M Manickam, chairman, Shakti Sugars said the industry was not looking just for only subsidy, but for sustainable investments, sustainable productivity and sustainable production. Dr BIkram Gujja, Chairperson, AgSri, the main organisors, advocated for public private partnership with industry and farmers to address the crisis prevailing in the sugar industry.

source: ibnlive

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