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  • Kubota Tractor Model B2420 for Sugar Cane Inter -Cultivation requirement.

    Wewould like to introduce our company, Kubota Agricultural Machinery India Pvt ltd,Chennai, TN. We are a 100 % Japanese joint Venture between KUBOTA CORPORATION,Japan & SUMITOMO COROPORATION, We have our specialized compact light weighttractor for inter cultivation in sugarcane, cotton, Banana & vineyards,.With the advent of Sugarcane harvesters, there is a need for small 4 WheelDrive Tractors for Inter cultivation activity. Our Kubota Model B2420 Tractorfits exactly for this requirement
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SSI Newsletters

  1. 1. An Initiative of ICRISAT-WWF Project S ust ai SugarCane iv e ti a t na ni bl eS eI u g a rc a n Volume 1 Issue 1 November 2009 matters Nov ‘09 1 SugarCane matters “More with Less” An initiative in sustainable sugarcane production
  2. 2. Sugarcane is an important crop in India and it will continue to be so in future. But it is facing a major crisis, and there are many reasons for it. One of the most important is the water crisis. The yields are low, the cost of Foreword facts, but what is unknown so far and is becoming increasingly important is climate change. Until now climate change was debated by non-farming community, primarily scientists and lately politicians, but farmers have Contents already begun to experience it. Climate change is adding to the uncertainty “More with Less” An initiative in sustainable sugarcane production 4 planted. As such the water requirement is almost the whole year round. In a Dr. V. Vinod Goud country like India where during the grueling summer, water becomes acute, sugarcane puts a heavy strain on the depleted resource. And if that summer Sweet Revolution, were to become little more acute due to climate change, the implications 2009! SSI gives birth to Neo-Agriculture 7 Frank A. Hilario But the Climate change - which is directly affecting the crop - is also going to be biggest opportunity for sugarcane in terms of market opportunity. SSI interventions : There is an increasing demand for ethanol - the climate friendly fuel. Given The progress made that sugarcane is a future crop, it needs to be cultivated with futuristic and the plans ahead 11 concepts and methods. The old way of growing sugarcane not only will Dr. N. Loganandhan push the farmers into deeper debts, but it will also lose the freshly opening market opportunities for ethanol. So sugarcane, a crop with great future SSI: A New and potential to address the most pressed global issue - climate change - Experience in has to be cultivated with radically different approaches and methods. That is Sugarcane Cultivation the reason SSI - Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative - has been put together. Shri. P. K. Singh Until now the fundamental thinking in agriculture has been ‘more to get a Minister with a little more’. This path has reached its dead end and the more has become Dr. Biksham Gujja farmer’s heart and soul 17 ever more and margins to farmers have become very little. The result has Team Leader, Dr. Amrik Singh ICRISAT-WWF project plunged Rural India into a four-fold crisis: One, the farmers are borrowing more and more and not able to pay back due to dwindling yields and increase in costs. Also, farmers are not able to pay the laborers as much as the fast in Nayagarh District growing industrial sector. This is driving them to migration, to the cities. of Orissa 18 Sraban Kumar Dalai and Arundhati Jena Two - Since agricultural wages are not competitive, the government has to pump in large amounts of money to keep the rural people employed, often in jobs which may not be directly linked to production or enhancement Age Farmer of SSI 20 of agricultural productivity. Since the workers have been ‘employed’ by Manisha Agarwal governments as part of creating livelihoods (ex. NREGA), farmers complain that they are not getting enough labor in time for the regular agricultural Fundamentals of SSI 22 operations. The story is far from over yet. We invite sugarcane farmers, scientists, agriculture Chief Editor: Dr. Biksham Gujja Editor-in-charge: Manisha Agarwal Layout and Design: on innovations, practices in sugarcane and share ideas Akshakala Editorial team: and feedback on the articles in the Newsletter. We also Anuradha S. Echambadi Map and Technical Support: invite news items, events and information on seminars/ Dr. V. Vinod Goud Sraban Kumar Dalai workshops/trainings with photographs to the following Dr. N. Loganandhan Admin. Support: email ID: Manisha Agarwal R. Padma Reddy
  3. 3. Three - Excessive use of fertilizers, which are of course The Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) has to be seen in this heavily subsidized, indiscriminate use of pesticides, context. It is already a big success. Already it has caught the massive pumping of ground water with free electricity, attention of many stakeholders - farmers, millers, agricultural all of the above have contributed to soil degradation, equipment manufacturers, researchers, and even the policy over-exploitation of ground water, pollution of rivers makers. Again, SSI is not magic or some mystifying technology. and prevalence of health hazards, etc. The ecological It is even now evolving and is like open source programming. degradation in turn is resulting in the decline of yields and Many farmers are going to add and modify to the method to suite increasing costs in agriculture. though - it is possible to use a lot less sugarcane to plant the crop, it is possible to grow a nursery without any additional costs, and intensity of rainfall and associated with it, the availability it is possible to plant wide and most importantly, it is possible to in the same area in the same year. This will only further add depending on several factors. The SSI manual released in May 2009 attracted the attention of These are but some of the problems and list might go many stakeholders. The process of working together to scale it up on and on. Regarding solutions, there is no new ‘magic’ is on. All the stakeholders - farmers, millers, agriculture equipment technological breakthrough in the near future like manufacturers and policy makers, need to have a combined vision improved varieties, Hybrids, GMs, etc. While there was some as exciting to the farmers. On the contrary, they would assist them in improving their cane production while reducing the Nov ‘09 need to invest even more to get access to them. The ‘More costs. SSI will help farmers to adapt to the uncertainties of climate SugarCane to get little more’ strategy has increased the government change while at the same time contributing to the reduction in spending on fertilizer subsidy, large resources have to be the release of greenhouse gases, by producing more ethanol. It is matters diverted to rural employment, construction of large water adaptation and mitigation, both as part of the same intervention. infrastructure to divert the non-existent or uncertain water SSI is going to help reduce the human footprint on planet earth resources, subsidizing the farmers to pump out ground water these measures seem to be working. This newsletter is a forum to assist that process of scaling up the As mentioned before, there are no magic solutions to experiences of the SSI demonstration sites. More importantly, the the present agricultural problems. So the question is, farmers behind this, the farmers who have done pioneering work, ‘Is it possible to produce more with less?’ Certainly, the have been given focus. We also give a brief taste of the progress in question might sound unrealistic. But that is the challenge. our systematic demonstration sites. This only a beginning and we are sure SSI is certainly going to effect a change in the way sugarcane method has proved that it is indeed possible to produce is cultivated. We invite individuals and institutions to be part of this process and use this newsletter to improve the understanding less water. The results are out there in the public domain to verify. For any agriculture practice, the ultimate test is the acceptance of farmers. SRI has been accepted by millions and add to the knowledge base in improving the sugar sector. of farmers and many more will do the same. SRI has not only changed the method of rice cultivation but has also transformed the thinking process for future agriculture. Dr. Biksham Gujja For further feedback and information contact: Published by: NOTE: The views and opinions expressed ICRISAT-WWF Project, in this Newsletter are authors’ own and Editorial Desk, ICRISAT, ICRISAT-WWF Project, Patancheru, of the ICRISAT-WWF project and SSI partners. Cover Photo Courtesy: Email:, Email: ICRISAT-WWF Project Team
  4. 4. CoverStory “More with Less” An initiative in sustainable sugarcane production Water is proving to be one of the major constraints for Indian farmers affecting the by climate change are debilitating the sugarcane farmers in the country today. Dr. V. Vinod Goud Rice, sugarcane and cotton are among the highest water guzzling crops. Sugarcane The effects of climate change are becoming apparent more and more all over the world and agriculture is water to produce 1 kg of cane. Besides, sugarcane is one of the most important the most affected due to changes in the commercial crops in India both for its sugar and other by-products. India ranks second in rainfall has led to shortfalls in food the world, after Brazil, in terms of sugarcane supplies and spiralling prices of essential growing area (4.1 m ha) and production. food commodities. Sugar industry is the second largest in the country in the agro-processing sector The mitigation of the effects of climate change is complicated due to its SugarCane multidimensional nature. In agriculture, this matters necessitates identifying and developing better crop management options, which potential to address energy needs through can tolerate water shortages and adapt to Cogen and ethanol production. 4 Nov ‘09 the extremes of weather induced by climatic change and yet produce more without Of late, there is increasing concern about putting pressure on the ecosystem. low productivity in most of the sugarcane
  5. 5. During the SSI Training Manual Release: From (Lto R) Dr. S. P. Wani, Principal Scientist, ICRISAT; Shri. Prabhakar Reddy, President, Farmers Federation of AP; Dr. Biksham Gujja, Team Leader, ICRISAT-WWF Project, Dr. William Dar, Director General, ICRISAT; Shri. Sucha Singh,Hon’ble Agriculture Minister, Punjab; Dr. Dave Hoisington, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT; Dr. Vithal Rajan, Board of Directors, KCP Sugars; Shri. P. K. Singh, General Manager-Cane, Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd producing states in India - in AP, where to climatic change, as revealed in a no choice but to shift to remunerative recent four-year study conducted by commercial crops. the World Bank. Under these circumstances, if India has Nov ‘09 2008-09; in UP, the average number of While sugar mills are suffering due to sustain its sugarcane production SugarCane millable canes per unit area has come to inadequate supply of cane for crushing, the sugarcane farmers are productivity of sugarcane per unit of matters facing problems of their own. On land, water, labour and capital all at t/ha, though this state has the largest the one hand, the cost of cultivating the same time, while striking a balance area under cultivation of sugarcane. cane is increasing and on the other, between economy and ecology. the prices offered by the factories are Sugarcane production is expected making it uneconomical to continue Responding to this need, World its cultivation. Therefore, farmers have Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has partnered with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid State-wise Area, Production and Productivity of Sugarcane Tropics (ICRISAT) to explore options in India (2006-07) for “Improving water productivity in Agriculture” in order to improve water freshwater ecosystems. 200 Based on the principles of ‘more with less’ in agriculture, the project initiated 100 largest water-guzzling crop - through research and policy advocacy to popularise and mainstream the System 0 rice cultivation (see website: www.sri- sh m r at a ka h ra a ab u sh nd l ga ha an iss es ad sa ht jar de ta de nj ha en Bi d Or ry il N Encouraged by the results in As as na Pu Gu ra ra ra k tB Ha ra ar P aP rP r m Ka ta ah es ra Ta ta hy Ut W dh M Ut ad An M Area (‘0000 ha) Production (MT) Productivity (t/ha) now, the focus shifted to sugarcane in Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture the last one and half years.
  6. 6. SSI methods popular among farmers and sugar industries. After the book release , the wide media coverage of the event generated huge interest regarding the SSI methods among industrialists, farmers and the State Agriculture Ministries across India and other countries. The Manual is now ready for publication in Hindi, partnership with various Government for farmers to read and understand them in their own language. The Triveni Industry team during a training session at ICRISAT Inspired by the principles of SRI, the water abstractions and farm chemical and demonstration plots are being set project team started identifying, usage. up in partnership with industries, NGOs and farmers in states such as Uttar practices in sugarcane already in use The objective of this exercise was Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra in the public domain for long but to understand the problems of Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa. limited to a few farmers. growing sugarcane and to study the innovations in reducing the inputs and The results so far have been very SugarCane SSI was evolved after one and half cost of cultivation while improving encouraging in the demonstrations matters years of extensive consultations yields and incomes of the farmers. plots. The tillering and crop growth with progressive sugarcane farmers are much better than the sugarcane across the country combining the crops grown under conventional Nov ‘09 cane planting innovations, better “SSI Training Manual: Sustainable methods. plant and water management and Sugarcane Cultivation in India” in A long-term strategy is being of which will accrue to the cane English was published and launched developed to scale up SSI in all producer and mill owner on the by Dr. William Dar, the Director sugarcane growing states in order to one hand and on the other, to the General of ICRISAT at an event make a dent in the sugar industry and environment as a result of reduced organised to introduce and make the target at improving the conservation of water in sugarcane cultivation in particular and the agricultural sector in the country in general. It is imperative that a consortium based institutional mechanism be evolved, with an objective of generating farmers, researchers, equipment and machinery interests. This would help in promoting wider adaptation of SSI, along with active Government support - in the form appropriate policy as well least one third of India’s total sugarcane Dr. V. Vinod Goud is the Project Coordinator for the ICRISAT-WWF Project at ICRISAT, Dr. Vinod Goud inspecting the nursery seedlings at Farmer Makhan Singh’s place Patancheru
  7. 7. The following article was written by Frank A. Hilario and is a detailed analysis of the present world situation of sugarcane and sugar industry and how well the SSI Manual of ICRISAT-WWF can come to the rescue of the resources strapped farmers. It has been reproduced here with his kind permission. Sweet Revolution, 2009! SSI gives birth to Neo-Agriculture Frank A. Hilario inputs need to be decreased. Our hectares, reportedly the Philippines’ technical knowledge needs to change May 27, 2009 largest sugarcane plantation for the better, and not only in making things clear to the layman. Revised 29 May 2009 Province is next to Pangasinan. I at 0949 Manila time preferred the light one ‘with a warm We Filipinos learned to produce sugar honey color s SWEET LOVE C12H22O11, Sweet Ignore ( Today, raw sugar, muscovado is considered a health Sugar History Newsletter July 2004). food. Not surprisingly, it has all Today, some 170 years later, the way saccharine. I like it harvested from the natural vitamins & minerals in we grow sugarcane leaves much to sugarcane juice ( I be desired. I like it cultured on soil rather than love it! cultured on Petri dishes or whatever. I Actually, the world over, most Nov ‘09 want to be in the US, the home of the Raw sugar is a major export of the 7 sugarcane farmers have much to SugarCane brave and the land of the free. But I Philippines. For 2009, the country will learn about raising cane. We need don’t want to be sugar-free. e the US a Sweet Revolution in sugarcane matters is importing for the year (March 2009, farming in response to the realities I’m in the Philippines; I am a farmer’s How sweet! of climate change (global warming/ the natural to the man-made. Today, We Filipinos are good in raising Cain, (like too much fertilizer), and I want to talk nicely about sweetness. that’s for sure. If you didn’t know, you dwindling resources (like the water Grown by mild-mannered chemists have not been reading the papers. Now, are we Filipinos good in raising are overdrawn). Saccharin is sweet; grown by tough- talking farmers on uneven farms with writing this long essay. But we are For sugarcane farmers in the dry hard methods, C12H22O11, sugar is good producers of sugar. In crop year tropics, who can they turn to, to sweet and delectable. learn to grow sugarcane much, much better? The Brazilians are the biggest And that would be muscovado. In the compared to 1998-1999 largely due sugarcane producers in the world, to higher sugar recovery but Brazil doesn’t have the drylands shorts going to grade school in the the increase can also be attributed that we have. In the 2007-2008 village of Sanchez in the sleepy town of to ‘favorable climatic conditions, season, total sugarcane production Asingan, Pangasinan in Central Luzon adoption of high-yielding varieties, was estimated highest in Brazil at 491 in the Philippines, I had muscovado improved cultural practices, increased in my pocket somewhere to bring farm inputs, and better milling tonnes ( So out as snack. Were we poor? Not really, but I have always been a sweet (I tried hard but tooth; I loved the brown color and I couldn’t get 2007 or 2008 data on the God-given sweetness. Asingan recovery rate.) SSI is never had a sugarcane plantation, sugarcane but we always had muscovado. It S ust ai The problem there is that ‘favorable agriculture iv e ti a t must have come from Tarlac, from climatic conditions’ doesn’t apply at its best. na ni bl eS eI the Central Azucarera De Tarlac, the anymore; cultural practices need to u g a rc a n
  8. 8. maybe we should go to India and learn In fact, in 510 BC In this unusual Age of Climate from the Indians. After all, in history, Emperor Darius of Persia invaded India and found the panda is talking to the plant. grown in that country (Wikipedia). ‘the reed which gives Based in Switzerland, the current Except the latest news is that, in honey without bees’ top panda of WWF is President Chief contrast to the Philippines, last year (quoted by ANN in Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria; based in India had a decline in recovery rate, India, the current top crop of ICRISAT which is the amount of sugar you is Director General William Dar of the huge mistake is that they have been were thinking of, if vaguely, if I may it comes to the growing of sugarcane: Consider: The above production too much water for the canes in the the concept of optimum sustainable yield. OSY is where you decrease the yield estimates change during the year as the weather changes; after And that’s one of the modern Indian water, fertilizer and seed in particular all, in agriculture, harvests are only as lessons we can learn on campus at good as the weather allows. So, expect ICRISAT at Patancheru. As far as I that for any growing season, any know, they are very serious when OSY one better; it so happens that country’s sugarcane yield estimates they say, ‘We need to explore every in SSI, while you decrease the costs, will be revised at least 4 times: early possible approach to reduce the water you increase the yield. Plow in less, in the year, before harvest, harvest input to all crops, particularly those time, then afterwards. which excessively depend on scarce agriculture at its best. resources.’ That’s ICRISAT Director SugarCane General William Dar speaking. In The ICRISAT-WWF partnership is a matters other words, he is telling us we have revelation. The WWF has a mandate to save on water, and so do our of protecting ecosystems; considering your weather. And why is that? As far crops. I know him personally to be a that, ‘ICRISAT is collaborating with 8 Nov ‘09 as I can tell, the telling effect of the non-traditional and out-of-the-box WWF to understand and integrate the weather is felt by plants via the water manager-thinker, looking for, in his ecological concerns of agriculture,’ in the soil. Water is that important. own words, ‘approaches wherein the Dar says. ‘This partnership is unique, resource inputs are low and yields are and we are looking forward to many Mark Twain did say, ‘Everybody talks high.’ The mantra of the Consultative more practical results on the ground.’ about the weather, but nobody does Group on International Agricultural Not just theories but practices. anything about it.’ In this age of Research, CGIAR, is ‘Doing More with Climate Change, I say we need to and And so, on March 2009, the ICRISAT- indeed we can modify the weather, if WWF project came up with a training we simply modify the water in the soil: that kind of farming is contrary to manual with the long title, Sustainable how much is in it and how much the textbook economics, isn’t it? As well Sugarcane Initiative (SSI): Improving plants are taking out and transpiring as textbook agriculture. Sugarcane Cultivation in India. Dated from it. We need to practice out-of- March 2009 and released May, the the-box water management. Going-against-the-grain-of accepted practices was very much in the minds with plenty of photographs, freely I did say we should go to India and of the experts when they worked downloadable from here: learn. You know, we learn from out the joint project Sustainable mistakes, preferably those of others, Sugarcane Initiative, SSI. I’m referring About the training manual, Project preferably big. In this case, India is to the World Wide Fund for Nature, Leader Gujja says that ‘the inspiration the biggest sugar producer in the WWF and the International Crops for putting this package together world Research Institute for the Semi-Arid is from the successful approach of they must make big mistakes there. Tropics, ICRISAT. The Team Leader for the SSI project is Biksham Gujja which has been proven to need less Persia invaded India and found ‘the water and yet to yield more. And do reed which gives honey without bees’ Project Scientist for WWF based at the you know who invented SRI? It was (quoted by ANN in Now ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru, Fr Henri De Laulanie SJ who spent then, the Indians have been raising
  9. 9. Malagasy rice farmers in Madagascar pre-climate change agriculturists prescribed for SSI/neo-agriculture (ANN, He came up think of that?! They couldn’t have for sugarcane (mostly from the SSI because they were not thinking out training manual): De Laulanie, along with some Malagasy of the box. Now, neo-agriculturists, as colleagues set up a non-government well as neo-economists perforce must (1) Raise single-budded setts in nursery. organization, NGO, the Association think of water used in production, not Tefy Saina, to help improve lives in as a dependent but an independent coconut coir. Being hygroscopic, Madagascar. ‘Tefy Saina’ means, in variable, something that can be to the coir absorbs water 8-9 times its Malagasy, ‘to improve the mind.’ the highest degree manipulated, own weight, then slowly releases Cornell International Institute for Food, controlled, varied or changed. This is the precious liquid to the feeding Agriculture and Development, is now water before the bridge. roots of the setts. Also, nursery- working with Tefy Saina. The Jesuits raised settlings are excellent for can teach even the experts a thing or The ICRISAT-WWF sugarcane scientists two about culture and agriculture. may have been thinking more of Indian sugarcane farmers than those in other same age as the ones growing in From SRI to SSI. The SSI approach has lands, but that was natural. They had been tested by farmers in different enough problems in India already! Neo- same time. climatic zones of India: Punjab, Uttar agriculture will have greater impact Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka in India than the Philippines, simply (2) and Orissa (KV Kumanath, 07 May, because in the Land of the Maharajas, days old). By then, the settlings With are old enough and vigorous very encouraging results, Gujja says farmers, and that number is more to withstand the shock of he expects that the SSI practice will than the entire population of Canada, transplanting. Well-developed, the Nov ‘09 replace farmer’s practice in sugarcane setts can compete with the weeds 9 SugarCane million in 2021 ( This better, and can increase cane yield I expect the same for is not to mention the multiplier effect matters the Philippines. 1994, University of the Ryukyus, depend on employment generated by rms1.agsearch.agropedia.affrc. In fact, SSI is the new economics of using sugar. call it from here on, because it’s new and because I believe the concepts It is true that we have only are applicable with other crops. This is Filipino sugarcane farmers (Katharine the Sweet Revolution of 2009 I refer times more millable canes because to in the title to this essay. even then, all of them too have to the setts produce more tillers. It practice neo-agriculture for cane also reduces the number of setts Call it SSI or call it neo-agriculture, it starting right now. Filipinos, neo- has been shown to work in practice, farmers of sugarcane? That would be setts to 4,000 single-budded setts not simply in theory. One Indian farmer, sweet music to my ears. to an acre. PK Singh, in Uttar Pradesh found that cane yields went up to 100 tonnes to For starters, here are some techniques (4) Apply a trash mulch. Apply a hectare as against a ‘normal’ yield of of planting. Mulching is the best com). That’s an increase in yield of In fact, SSI is the new practice in controlling weeds. economics of agriculture Trash mulch can also increase – neo-agriculture I shall yield and decrease energy cost (AC call it from here on, Srivastava, 2002, asae.frymulti. recommendation that caught my eye because it’s new and com). I myself have written about is that on water. If you follow neo- because I believe the what Edward H Faulkner calls agriculture, all things being equal, your concepts are applicable trash farming in my ‘Lesson of with other crops. This is the Water Cycle’ (20 April 2008, irrigation and your output will be up the Sweet Revolution of 2009 I refer to in the economics of agriculture. Why didn’t title to this essay. (Contd. on page 14)
  10. 10. SSI Introduced Districts in India tillers Women labourers chipping buds from the canes SugarCane matters 10 Nov ‘09 Farmer watering the nursery seedlings Young seedlings ready for transplantation Transplantation between rows of intercrops Cutting of mother shoot
  11. 11. This article presents a brief overview SSI interventions of the progress made so far and the future plans as part of this process. The progress made and the plans ahead Uttar Pradesh The following is a brief report on the interventions taken up by ICRISAT-WWF project this year in some states across the country. and production of sugarcane at Dr. N. Loganandhan biggest sugar mills are located in this state. During September 2008, Engineering and Industries (Sugars), UP, the third largest producer in the country, visited the WWF theoretical inputs in classrooms and innovative farmers. Detailed practical information on bud chip nursery, planting techniques and water saving technologies was imparted to them. Nov ‘09 11 The visiting staff of Triveni Sugars was SugarCane impressed with the seed saving, wide spacing and water saving potential matters of the SSI methods. Subsequently, a partnership has been established with them as a consequence of which, it was decided to conduct experimental T o create awareness about the SSI methods among farmers, sugar of disseminating these practices through capacity development programmes factory locations. holders, and review its adoptability in in different states across India. The following table details the training The trials began during February WWF Project team has taken initiative programmes undertaken so far: - March this year at four sugar factories located at Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, Deoband in Saha- SSI trainings organized by the ICRISAT-WWF Project team ranpur, Sabitgarh in Bulandshahar (Sep 2008 to July 2009) and Chandanpur in J.P Nagar. State Organization Date of training No. of participants Staff Farmers About one lakh seedlings were Uttar Pradesh Triveni Engineering -- Punjab Agricultural Technology 21-22 January, 2009 -- acres. Management Agency (ATMA), Government of Experiments comprising different India, Gurdaspur treatments are being tried out Orissa NIRMAN, Nayagarh 21-22 January, 2009 1 considering the variations like plant Karnataka Outreach, Bidar 2 Tamil Nadu Thumbal SRI Farmers’ -- 8 direction (N-S and E-W), furrow Association, Salem, and drip irrigation, organic and Ponni Sugars, Erode inorganic fertilizers, intercropping Andhra Kakatiya Sugars, Kham- 8-10 July, 2009 -- etc., along with a control plot Pradesh mam district with conventional practices to
  12. 12. compare with the performance of the farmers from ATMA. Farmers coco-pith were provided to them to SSI methods. raise nursery. Farmers got involved March and May. It was interesting in the activities very actively and Performance so far to note that they have also tried out several other materials like sawdust, status of the crops with promising saved during the nursery stage vermi-compost, poultry feed, etc., for performance of the sugarcane crop raising bud chip nursery, in the place under SSI. Details in this regard More number of tillers were seen of coco-pith. can be read from another exclusive per clump (about 8 on an average article in this publication. The present scenario and performance Andhra Pradesh Compared to control plots, only At present, 7 farmers are practicing In 2008-09, the productivity in SSI in an area of 8 acres in this sugarcane in Andhra Pradesh was state. reduced to 77 t/ha as against 82 t/ The girth (about 10 cm) of individual The crop shows healthy signs in the demand for SSI methods from canes is comparatively better in SSI terms of increase in tiller count many farmers and industry staff, a plots need for establishing model farms their earlier experience). in the vicinity of ICRISAT was felt. Future plans In the month of March 2009, about Impressed by the results so far, the Intercrops like maize and bhendi 10,000 seedlings were provided to management has decided to upscale have been successfully tried by two farmers of nearby Madgi and this method and so has planned to the farmers. Hathanura villages. In the month of SugarCane July 2009, a training programme was matters As the seedlings were well established while earthing up, Kakatiya Sugars in Khammam district been initiated and the planting will be lodging of the crop was minimal. by the SSI project team. 12 Nov ‘09 carried out in November 2009. The path ahead In August 20-21, an experience Punjab In the Kisan Mela conducted at sharing workshop on better manage- Sugarcane is one of the major crops Gurdaspur on 10th September 2009, ment practices was organized by of Punjab, thanks to the availability the Consortium of Indian Farmers’ of abundant water resources. Punjab interest to try this new method and Association (CIFA ) in Hyderabad, with farmers are known for their enthusiasm registered their names to know more support from the ICRISAT-WWF Project in adopting any innovative technology about it. It is learnt that trainings for selected innovative farmers from as was evident from the time of Green would soon be conducted for these Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh Revolution. In the month of January registered farmers by ATMA and and Maharashtra. Delivering the selected farmers among the trainees Special Message, Dr. Lakshmi Narayana, Gurdaspur district, underwent the SSI would be supported with materials to I.A.S, Commissioner of Sugarcane, training supported by the ICRISAT- Government of Andhra Pradesh said he WWF project. Soon after the training, was indeed happy to see the presence the farmers initiated the activities of Orissa of farmers’ associations participating in Along with the Punjab farmers, six from the trainees, some of their farmers and a staff member from to all farmers. He added that, it is indeed neighboring farmers also undertook NIRMAN, a local NGO of Nayagarh wonderful that SSI is getting such wide the SSI practices. Especially, Shri. Sucha district, Orissa, underwent the publicity and as soon as the Manual Singh Langah, the Hon’ble Minister for training in the month of January. was released, word came from the Chief Agriculture, Government of Punjab has After the completion of the Minister and meetings were convened shown keen interest and has taken up programme, the farmers appreciated the very next day with the Assistant the cost effective SSI practices and Cane Commissioners and Managing showed keen interest in taking up SSI Directors as well as managers of mills, Efforts taken in 4 acres under rainfed conditions. both public and private, to discuss at Materials like bud-chippers, trays Support in terms of materials like greater length the SSI methods and how and coco-pith were distributed to shade net shed, plastic trays and to disseminate the information. Eminent
  13. 13. to take it up in a limited area to begin with in the forthcoming season. Further follow up and progress Some support in terms of trays and were given during the month of July 2009, to kick start the process of establishing bud chip nursery Subsequently, a two-day meeting was organized at Koutha B village of Bidar on 17th and 18th September 2009, in order to initiate the planting in the coming October season. Shri. Laxmi Narayana, Cane Comissioner, Govt. of AP, lighting the ceremonial Management Practices for Improving Productivity in Sugarcane’ at Hyderabad in the programme organized by in the month of August 2009. Outreach. Six farmers and three staff members from AME, another reputed NGO based in Bangalore sugarcane scientists Dr. Hapse and and working in the Dharwad Nov ‘09 Dr. N.V Naidu participated and shared farmer, Mr. Manik Reddy. district also participated. SugarCane their experiences with the farmers. Future developments The Chief Guest of the function, the matters appreciated by the sugarcane experts Mr. Anji Reddy is planning to Assistant General Manager (AGM) establish a bigger nursery to of NABARD, encouraged the women cost of cultivation and improvement supply bud chip seedlings to other members of Self-Help-Groups to farmers as additional income take up the bud chip nursery as deliberations. generating activity. an income generating activity. He The present situation Plans are on to bring in more to raise the shade net shed and Mr. Anji Reddy, whose case history farmers under SSI with support procurement of required materials is carried in this newsletter, has from the State Government and to initiate it as a group activity. nearby mills. acres more, during the month of Nursery activities were initiated June. This he has done by raising Kakatiya Sugars is planing to his own nursery. this autumn season. He has planted soya bean as Future developments intercrop in both the plots. The Karnataka More training programmes in cane crop shows healthy growth Karnataka is also another state with other nearby districts like Bijapur, high productivity of cane (88t/ha Bagalkote etc., will be taken up. tillers (on an average) in each of in 2007). It is known for its rich belt the clumps. of sugarcane farming, thanks to the Demonstration plots will be Cauvery River basin. Six farmers and established in at least one acre two staff members from Outreach, in each district with the technical visitors, be it farmers, staff of a well known Bangalore based NGO support of ICRISAT-WWF project. sugar industries from neighbouring working in the Bidar district of Karna- Publication of Manuals in local to undergo training during March this languages will be taken up in the The crop performance is equally year. They found the SSI methods to be near future with support from good under sub-surface drip very innovative and expressed interest NABARD.
  14. 14. Tamil Nadu their selection of 11-month old practices shows that the sugarcane canes, there were no such issues farming community has received the SSI methodology well. The ongoing (2007). The state is known for its well performance of the crop is quite organized cooperative and private Presently, crops look healthy with sugar mills. Eight farmers (two an average of 18 tillers per clump. compared to the crops being cultivated supported by Ponni Sugars, Erode in the conventional methods. and six from SRI Farmers’ Association, On 22nd June 2009, an awareness Thumbal, Salem district) attended a programme on SSI was organized at 2-day training programme on SSI in Thumbal with the support of the SRI that the present signs are indicators the month of May 2009. Farmers’ Association, sponsored by of a good harvest. More data NABARD. and information with regard to Progress so far improvement in yields and savings Nursery materials to cover an area Needed support was assured in inputs will be shared in this of 10 acres were provided to the from AGM, NABARD for the SSI newsletter in the coming months. Salem farmers on their request. trainings in the state. With the support from farmers, mills, NGOs and government agencies Planting was initiated in an area Conclusion It is quite encouraging to note the Baskaran and Mr. Vinod during wide adoption of SSI methods by the sugarcane sector of India in the June-July 2009. farmers, millers and government future. agencies alike. The fact that almost all the farmers who underwent the Dr. N. Loganandhan is the Visiting Scientist SugarCane observed in the nursery due to training in SSI methods adopted the at ICRISAT-WWF Project matters 14 Nov ‘09 (7) Do bio-control of pests. Instead of conducive for stubble growth. applying pesticides, learn to apply Cut the canes close to the ground Sweet Revolution... biological methods of minimizing level. (Contd. from page 9) pest damage to your crop. An So: Neo-agriculture is not only saving Lady bugs are predators of aphids, on water but also saving on fertilizer, Do alternate furrow mites, scale insects (Erv Evans, saving on seed, saving on cost, irrigation to minimize water loss, NC State U,, and or employ a drip irrigation system. caterpillars (Washington State U, pollution of the soil, water and air. Drip irrigation is where you get This is a paradigm shift in thinking agriculture. I can imagine that neo- (8) Intercrop. You can intercrop agriculture is also good for other Go organic. Gradually switch from wheat, potato, cowpea, French high-value crops like hybrid rice, inorganic to organic manures and bean, chickpea, watermelon and fancy rice, tropical fruits, vegetables, bio-fertilizers. These are natural many other crops with sugarcane materials and do not pose any with your wider spacing between climate in understanding agriculture. danger to the crop or soil. Organic rows and hills. Aside from the Biksham Gujja imagines SSI will methods help directly reduce the extra income, the intercrops will carbon footprint of sugarcane help control weed growth because in India. Beyond SSI, I am already farming by reducing use of farm of the combined denser canopy of imagining Sweet Revolution! 2009. chemicals that require fossil fuels the crops, depriving the weeds of that emit carbon dioxide in their sunlight. production. Organic methods also Frank A.Hilario is a popular Filipino writer who is known for his extensive writings on help build soil, not only add to its (9) Ratoon. Harvest the plant crop issues of agriculture and other fertility. when weather conditions are world concerns
  15. 15. As a consequence, the period SSI: A New Experience for tillering phase is reduced in Sugarcane Cultivation the distance between two rows is This causes competition for sun industry and farmers. And now, encouraged by the results, they plan to light and air among the tillers, which in turn causes severe tiller mortality and heterogeneous cane. Shri. P. K. Singh It is not that the new technologies Inadequate and imbalanced ferti- tried have not given results, but the lizer dosage with more focus on Background fact remains that even after giving use of Nitrogenous Fertilizer. The role of sugarcane in uplifting rural results, those technologies could not economy particularly in the Northern be further scaled up. This is either Over dependence on monsoons plains of India is well accepted. Even due to some adaptability issue or is adversely affecting the yields especially in the case of failure cane has over the years lost its place understand or even due to last minute of or variation in the monsoon cost enhancement. It is important pattern. farmers today consider sugarcane that the technology is farmer friendly, as one of many alternatives. Several economical and easy to implement in Lower yields in ratoons due to Nov ‘09 factors can be attributed for this order to improve yields on a sustainable improper ratoon management SugarCane basis. However, before getting into practices. reduction in returns per unit area the technological aspects, it is better matters of sugarcane, in spite of increase in to understand the problems and the Irrigation method followed led not cane prices. This is mainly because of factors affecting cane yield in U.P. only to wastage of water but also lower yields and increase in the cost Lower yields in U.P can be attributed created anaerobic condition in the of inputs. to the following factors:- affect the frequency of irrigation. The paying capacities of the factories most of the planting is done have also dwindled because of lower after the harvest of wheat in the There are several other factors sugar recovery, affecting the cane month of April and May, thus payment to farmers which has reducing the life span of the crop. quality, use of organic manure, plant further aggravated the situation. the farmer in sugarcane can only be restored if he is sure of better returns on sustainable basis. The three variables affecting the returns are yield per unit area, cost of cultivation and certainly the price of the output. The third variable is largely dependent on many volatile factors and Government polices, which are generally not in the hands of the farming community and the i.e. yield and cost of production can certainly be addressed. Several attempts have been made in the past and some new ones are being tried for improving yields.
  16. 16. protection measures etc., which are distinct difference is visible between the also attributed to lower yields. As a SSI plots and the conventional plots. result of these factors, not only is the individual cane weight very low (at an Results Following are some of the observations the number of millable canes per unit from the SSI trials:- Enhanced number of millable canes/ the average yield ranges from a mere clump (8 Millable canes per clump of U.P. Until and unless farmers start getting a yield of 100 tonnes/ha on a millable canes which is the actual sustainable basis, the future of sugar Reducing water requirement by potential of the technology) industry will remain uncertain and India might end up becoming the net Increase in the girth of each cane importer of sugar. Before taking this technology to the In view of the above facts and replicability issues of the potential method will be tested in the Triveni technologies, the possibility of getting mill farms, located in different units. a yield at the above mentioned level in larger area was a distant dream. But that was until SSI, the sugarcane Deoband in Saharanpur, Sabitgarh Homogeneous cane in SSI with version of SRI came into the picture. in Bulandshahar and Chandanpur in uniform height and girth as against SugarCane J.P Nagar. Apart from adaptability of canes of varied height and girth in matters Opportunities offered by SSI SSI, effort was dedicated to study the the conventional plot The following opportunities in this impact of the following variables:- technology are immediately apparent:- Impact of various spacings on the Net reduction in irrigation hours Nov ‘09 Addresses the issue of late plant- performance of SSI and this in spite of increased ing by raising seedlings and their frequency of irrigation transplantation later on which act- ually advances the entire process North- South Vs. East -West The average weight per cane is Addresses the issue of narrow Impact of Ammonium Sulphate in spacing as the technology is based the place of Urea harvest. Being new to the technology, on successful exploitation of some errors occurred inadvertently sunlight and air by following wider Impact of organic farming by using or else the performance would have Nava Dhanya and Amritpani been even better Addresses the problem of improper Performance of different seed Learnings: method of irrigation, namely, Some of the learnings to enhance the budded setts performance, experienced as part of the process need to be mentioned:- Effect of different intercrops on SSI Selection of bud while chipping requirement, as only the bud is and for use as seed material is very used as seed material Effect of Drip Irrigation important With this background, Triveni colla- Varietal interaction with SSI Grading at 20-22 days’ stages should be done very cautiously Project for studying the feasibility One treatment of conventional method of this technology in U.P. with the as control was also under taken to study In no case should weak seedlings following terms of reference: the net gains and all expenses incurred be transplanted Initial target yield of 90 tonnes/ are recorded for each treatment. Although there are still almost 4 more Pocket application of fertilizer tonnes/ha months left to harvest the crop, a improves its uptake and effect
  17. 17. Minister with a as a part of which he began the chip bud nursery in March of this year. farmer’s heart and soul He has been actively involved in the propagation of the SSI methods to The crisis in conventional sugarcane cultivation in Punjab other farmers in the state, bringing has been becoming more and more acute every year. It is more and more focus through hardly surprising then that the farmers in the state are more the media. His keen interest in SSI than willing to experiment with the new method of SSI for prompted him to visit the ICRISAT- improved production and overall productivity of sugarcane. scientists to further enhance his Dr. Amrik Singh The benefits – both short term knowledge. It was during this visit and long term – of SSI were so that he was able to participate in easily apparent that Shri. Sucha years old, has been the Minister of Singh Langah, the Minister for Trainer’s Manual. Agriculture for the State of Punjab Agriculture, Government of Punjab, who himself is a farmer, As the minister is new to this method, took up SSI in his fields and is he has been encountering problems taken up cultivation of sugarcane and today the greatest advocate of in implementing the SSI practices in SSI in his state. His introduction to the SSI methods late May, a little later than the other came when he was invited to attend farmers, the growth of cane was slower, a four-day Agriculture Development though the tillering is quite good at an Exhibition and Workshop, organized Nov ‘09 by the Agricultural Technology 8-10 tillers in the conventional method. 17 SugarCane Management Agency (ATMA), Speaking about the SSI methods and Gurdaspur under the aegis of Dr. practices, Shri. Sucha Singh Langah matters Amrik Singh, Deputy Project Director, says, “As a farmer and the Minister ATMA, Gurdaspur who gave a detailed for Agriculture, I understand that SSI presentation of the SSI methods. Shri. Langah was so impressed with Hon’ble Punjab Agriculture Minister Punjab”. the possibilities of this new method Shri. Sucha Singh (right) with the Director that he decided to implement it on General of ICRISAT, Dr. William Dar (left) Dr. Amrik Singh is the Deputy Project an experimental basis in 1½ acres during the SSI Training Manual release Director, ATMA at Gurdaspur Light earthing up is essential technology. Encouraged by the initial the concerns of farmers, industry for increasing tillering. Proper response, Triveni is now providing and the ecological activists. The compaction of earth near the stem the raised plantlets to the farmers to Government agencies and Agriculture is real earthing up or else there is Universities should certainly adopt no use of earthing up stage, the nursery raising activity will and take forward this technology, which has been invented by the With certain precautions and part of the next phase as a strategy farmers themselves. for scaling up this technology. comes naturally with experience - Encouraged by the results in the the technology can very well give a Transporting coco pith from South trial plots, Triveni is now scaling it up India is the only concern, as it on experimental plots but on mass increases the cost of nursery raising. scale also. Wider spacing of rows Already other alternatives to coco eases the entire activity taken up, as pith are being explored, which shall already been initiated and the planting further reduce the cost. will be done in November 2009. for movement and reduced number of rows to work. Hence, SSI is a This technology is seen as a suitable P.K. Singh is the General Manager (Cane), very easy to use and farmer friendly and promising alternative to address Triveni sugars
  18. 18. Nayagarh District of Orissa Though the farmers of Orissa have been into sugarcane cultivation for a long time now, SSI is a new arena into which these farmers are stepping in with caution but also happiness in their hearts. Below is the intervention of ICRISAT-WWF in extending the necessary technical Sraban Kumar Dalai and Arundhati Jena Overview in yield beyond 70 t/ha, even though the area under sugarcane has more than doubled! the forest area, with a population of A Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative rainfall of 1449.1 mm. (SSI) training was organized along problems were encountered here due with practical demonstrations at to ant, termite and rat infestation. There are six sugar mills in Orissa WWF-ICRISAT, followed by a field which are in operation, including the visit on January 20-21, 2009. Four Later, coco-pith was prepared at Nayagarh Sugar Complex Pvt. Ltd farmers from Nayagarh district of in Nayagarh. Now, according to the Orissa attended it. Apart from these waste and vermi-compost. During SugarCane State Government and Team Orissa (a the months of February and March, matters State Government agency working on motivated by the SSI methods. farmers started raising a nursery in industrial promotion) Report, there They are all marginal and small are going to be 14 sugar projects land holding sugarcane farmers. under the supervision of their staff. 18 Nov ‘09 in the state. Also, it is interesting to A total of 4 acres were brought The nursery seedlings were healthy note that the paddy area has been under cultivation using this method and the transplantation was done increasingly diverted to non-paddy in Biruda, Ikiri, Tipura villages of during the last week of March and Nayagarh district with the support 2007 in the state. Sugarcane is one of NIRMAN, a local NGO. three farmers initiated intercropping of the preferred crops for diversion, Bhendi or replacing paddy. Area diverted The materials used for raising nursery Okra) crop. to sugarcane crop during kharif like bud chipper, shade net shed, trays and a small quantity of coco-pith Results hectares in the above mentioned were provided through the WWF- years respectively. If the statistics of ICRISAT project to kick start the sugarcane area and productivity in SSI adoption in Orissa. In the initial Nayagarh district were to be observed period, farmers used decomposed for the last 8 years, it shows that the sawdust, coir waste, vermi-compost, ha. And there was no improvement acre land in their backyard. Some inches, and the height of canes varies 80 Future plans 70 NIRMAN has conducted meetings 4000 in two villages of Khairapati and Yield (t/ha) Gopalpur where 7 farmers from the 40 former village agreed to go for SSI 2000 20 1000 Area (in ha) 10 latter village agreed to go for it in 0 0 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2007-08 are planned in the remaining 12