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To Study Best Practices, Tamil Nadu Sugarcane Farmers Touring Maharashtra

TRICHY, TAMIL NADU: Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) and Perambalur Farmers’ Training Centre have sent 20 sugarcane farmers from four districts to study best practices being followed in Maharashtra, with an objective to increase the yield as well as acreage of sugarcane in the delta districts.

The farmers who have been identified by sugar mills based on the yield they achieved will be studying the advancements in cultivation and irrigation management in growing sugarcane.

Officials in the agriculture department said that, thanks to recurring drought, there has been a slight decline in acreage of sugarcane cultivation in Ariyalur and Perambalur districts in recent years. They point out that the soil condition in central and Cauvery delta districts calls for new sugarcane breeds to improve the yield per acre.

As Kolhapur district in Maharashtra had overcome a similar challenge a few years ago by developing a new breed and improved yield through advancements in irrigation technology, the officials said that they opted for Kolhapur for the tour. Subsequently, as many as 20 farmers including nine from Perambalur and the others from Ariyalur, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts were identified based on the yield (50 tonne sugarcane per acre).

Deputy director, farmers’ training centre, Perambalur, R Santhanakrishnan said, “Single-budded seedling cultivation and drip irrigation methods will be studied by sugarcane farmers through field visits.”

The overall sugarcane acreage in Ariyalur, Perambalur, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts was estimated at 63,000 hectares. However, monsoon failure and non-availability of Cauvery water in the past two years had caused the acreage to shrink by 10%.

As farmers still cultivated the old sugarcane breed despite new ones being developed in the state, officials said that the five-day visit would encourage the farmers to adopt new sugarcane breeds. Since a majority of sugarcane farmers in central districts depended on tank-based irrigation and borewells, agriculture department said that emphasis was given to study micro irrigation practices such as usage of sprinkler and drip systems.


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