Sugar industry calls for mechanisation in sugarcane agriculture

Sugar industry calls for mechanisation in sugarcane agriculture

Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), in association with ICARIndian Institute of Sugarcane Research (IISR), Lucknow conducted a seminar on ‘Mechanisation in Sugarcane Agriculture’ today at the premises of ICAR-IISR.

The seminar was attended by officials from the Central and state governments, including Chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP), Professor Vijay Paul Sharma; Addl. Chief Secretary and Cane Commissioner (UP), Sanjay R. Bhoosreddy and Subodh Singh, Additional Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, Government of India.

Among other participants were representatives from UPCSR – Shahjahanpur, experts from the sugar industry, technology providers, farmers and representatives from the sugar mills from across the country.

Highlights of the seminar

Ease of Farming: Every real change starts from the bottom up and there is no doubt that when the farmers and the manufacturers will come together, it will usher in a new era for the sugarcane industry.

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Scarcity of Labour: Need for mechanisation in sugarcane agriculture due to the scarcity of manual labour and also expensive labour.

Non-cane Material: Different speakers highlighted the challenges of higher non–cane material in the total cane weight, which happens in mechanically harvested cane – which is much higher as compared to manual harvesting.

It is good to know that currently, around 2000 mechanical harvesters are in operation in the country covering only about 4 per cent of total cane, which is almost negligible as compared to other cane-producing countries like Brazil, Thailand and USA.

Propagation of mechanical harvesting will be a win–win situation for both the farmers and millers as first of all problem of labour can be solved. Secondly, due to even cane cutting and spreading of trash by mechanical harvesters, rationality of crops improves considerably which is directly beneficial to farmers at no extra cost.

Technology providers also displayed their products and informed visitors about the technological advances.

The sugar industry wholeheartedly supports the change, however, challenges in implementation need to be mitigated with the support of the government.

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