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Challenges, opportunities in sugarcane sector post Covid

The sugar sector necessitates a paradigm change to be sustainable and rewarding in the prolonged...

The sugar sector necessitates a paradigm change to be sustainable and rewarding in the prolonged operate. There is light-weight at the stop of the tunnel, though, with a lot of commence-ups and innovations, stated sector captains at a the latest webinar on ‘Combating post Covid-19 troubles in sugarcane sector by means of proper technologies and approaches’.

With ability utilisation dropping to 35-forty per cent considering that the announcement of the lockdown in March, the sugar mills in Tamil Nadu have been combating hard to survive.

“We have troubles further than Covid. There could be a 2nd wave and that could be a genuine menace, specially for the duration of peak season (December-March). We have to appear to phrases with the new usual — localised outbreaks and lockdown,” stated SJ Lakshman, AVP, EID Parry (I) Ltd, stressing the will need for a paradigm change to continue to be sustainable and rewarding in the prolonged operate.

“The focus need to be on two-a few kinds, on kinds for ethanol with better brix and shorter duration, probability of sugar beet as an inter-crop, sweet sorghum kinds for ethanol and so forth…,” stated Lakshman.

“At one time, we had been pioneers in generate and technological innovation, but mother nature has been in opposition to us in the past five decades,” observed R Varadarajan, whole-time director, Rajshree Sugars.

Output ability

Although emphasising the will need to focus on sugarcane in watch of the truth that the sugar restoration in TN is not only under the national normal, but has fallen from 9.5 per cent to hover around 8.6 per cent, Varadarajan stated, “The State’s sugar production has slid from 2.forty two lakh tonnes in 2011-12 to an believed .87 lakh tonnes in 2020-21. At this amount, even if Tamil Nadu is dropped off the sugar map, the region would not know.”

M Silvester, whole-time director, Kothari Sugars and Chemical compounds, stated that only 26 of the 43 sugar mills (in the personal and cooperative sector) in the Condition had been operational, and that too at very well-under exceptional ability.

The spot below sugarcane has fallen by fifty percent considering that 2014-fifteen from four.sixty lakh acres to an believed 2.30 lakh acres in 2019-twenty. “Rainfall deficit, depleting ground water desk, delayed payment to cane farmers, lower internet earnings (for the farmer) in comparison to other crops, labour lack and raising price tag of labour, followed by Covid — which is paralysing total activities” are guiding the trend, he stated.

“Around 23 million farm labourers have moved out of agriculture in the past eight-9 decades. And this has further more been affected in the aftermath of the pandemic. The way ahead for agricultural labourers would be to experience the new troubles head-on as the luxury of function from residence is not probable in agriculture,” he added.

Stating that mechanisation of cane production process would be the tool to beat Covid-19 troubles, sugarcane specialist K Nagendran cited success tales of cane farmers. “Innovation is the critical and entrepreneurial functionality of the thriving farmers is obvious,” he added.

Organised by the ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute right here, the webinar was aimed at strategising approaches to tide above the post pandemic troubles.

Authorities support

Highlighting some of the initiatives taken by the Condition governing administration to revive the sector, Reeta Harish Thakkar, Commissioner, Sugar, TN governing administration, stated, “The utilisation ability of the mills has dropped to 35-forty per cent considering that the announcement of the lockdown in March we have made the decision to proceed with the transitional production incentive, supply transport subsidy of ₹100 per tonne of cane (in the direction of which an allocation of ₹106 crore has been made for 2020-21), disburse NADP subsidy and increase the micro irrigation scheme subsidy below Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana 2020-21.”

“The governing administration has settled ₹169 crore to the TN Technology and Distribution Corporation on behalf of the sugar mills, so the Corporation could in convert pay back the sector, which would help (the latter) settle the cane dues to farmers,” the Sugar Commissioner stated.

Bakshi Ram, Director of the century-previous Sugarcane Breeding Institute, spoke about the two the latest initiatives this kind of as quality seed production below farmers participatory programme (which is being pursued for the 2nd consecutive yr) and release of Co 11015, a short duration cane wide range.

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