LUDHIANA: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) organized a one-day brain storming session on “Sustainable cane and sugar production in Punjab” at its Regional Station (RS) of Faridkot, recently, to deepen the synergy between the sugar industry and the PAU. The representatives of various sugar mills and sugarcane scientists of the university attended the session.

In his presidential remarks, Dr. B.S. Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that sugarcane is a potential crop for diversification as it has the matching minimum support price (MSP) with wheat/rice. He emphasized on the re-orientation of biotechnology programme for developing disease free plantlets of varieties like CoJ-64 and sugarcane transgenic for borer resistance. In order to compete with the fast growing private sector, Dr Dhillon underlined the need for reprioritization of the research programmes in the public sector.

In his key-note address, Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU, highlighted the achievements of the university in sugarcane research and said that 18 varieties of the crop have been released till date. The landmark variety “CoJ-64,” evolved by PAU, had significant impact on the yield and sugar recovery of the Punjab state, he added. Saying that about 75 per cent sugarcane area of the State is under the varieties developed by the PAU, Dr Gosal told that these varieties are also popular in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. He dwelt upon many issues in sugarcane research that are to be addressed by joint collaborations between PAU and sugar industry.

Speaking on the issues pertaining to sugarcane research, Dr Ranjit Singh, Cane Commissioner, Government of Punjab, apprised the participants of the state government’s current concerns for crop diversification. Dr Singh divulged that under new plan of diversification, the target is to bring nearly 2.5 lac ha area under sugarcane, with the addition of one or two more sugar mills to the present number of 16, to meet the increasing milling needs. He impressed upon the cooperative mills for improving the sugar content, which was lagging behind by 0.8 per cent as compared to private mills. Dr Singh suggested the industry as well as the PAU to work collectively on the issues of varietal balance, mechanization and prospects of sugar beet. The Commissioner also assured PAU of the financial support on various researchable issues of sugarcane.

Earlier, Dr R.K. Gumber, Director, PAU, RS, Faridkot, welcoming the delegates and dignitaries, highlighted the mandate and significant research achievements of the station.

Dr Allah Rang, Head, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU, proposed the vote of thanks.

During the technical session, various issues and concerns related to sugarcane were discussed by the experts. Dr K.S. Thind, Director, RRS, Kapurthala, spoke on sugarcane crop improvement; Dr R.S. Singh, Sugarcane Breeder, RS, Fardikot, shed light on the upcoming promising clones of sugarcane and Dr Kuldeep Singh, PAU Agronomist, RS, Faridkot, informed about the latest crop production technology such as paired row trench planting and planting of sugarcane in FIRB sown wheat. Besides, the PAU expert, Dr M.S. Bhullar presented an overview of the initiatives taken by the university in sugar beet research. The Head of Crop Improvement Division, Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (IISR), Lucknow, also highlighted the Indian scenario in sugar beet research. Mr S.S. Bajwa, General Manager, Morinda Sugar Mill and the representative of MD Sugarfed, Punjab, raised various concerns of the sugar industry and invited the concrete research proposals for addressing the present challenges of sugarcane in the state.

source: punjabnewsline

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