Experts discuss strategies to enhance sugarcane production in Punjab
Ludhiana: Experts from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Sugarcane Research Centers at Shahjahanpur and Karnal and sugar mill representatives from sugar mills of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, today deliberated on the status of sugar recovery and cane cultivation practices in Punjab at the Dr Khem Singh gill Farmers’ Service Center, PAU. In his opening remarks, PAU, Vice Chancellor, Dr B.S. Dhillon emphasized on the need to explore the low productivity of sugarcane in Punjab compared to states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. He further opined that importance should be given to early sowing of the crop for increasing the yield. Dr Dhillon also called for strategic training of farmers to acquaint them with proper practices for sugarcane cultivation, keeping in mind farm economics, in collaboration with mill owners and research departments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. He dwelled on the need to appoint sugarcane breeder, agronomist and entomologist for the purpose. The five hour long brain storming session saw discussions linking low sugar recovery to changing weather patterns, right percentage of ratoon, sugarcane variety, soil and water conditions as well as management practices. Dr K.S. Thind, Additional Director of Research, pointed narrow row spacing, excessive and late application of urea, excessive irrigation, pseudo- autumn planting and incidence of top-borer among others as reasons for low recovery of sugar and cane cultivation in the state. Dr N. Kulshreshtha, Head, ICAR- SBI, RC, Karnal, advised wide row spacing for increasing yield, controlling insect- pests and diseases and weed control. He suggested intercropping of sugarcane with garlic, onion, gram and cabbage to enhance income. Dr J Singh, Director, UPC SR, Shahjahanpur also shared improved cultivation practices undertaken for sugarcane production in Uttar Pradesh.
Prominent among other experts at the meeting were, Devinder Singh, IAS, MD, Sugarfed, Punjab, Jaswant Singh, Cane Commissioner, Punjab, Dr J Singh, Director, UPC SR, Shahjahanpur, Dr Jaskarn Singh Mahal, Director Extension, PAU and Heads of various departments of the university. The meeting concluded with a formal vote of thanks by Director of Extension, Dr Jaskarn Singh Mahal, who in his message reiterated the importance of sugar cane cultivation in Punjab.