Innovative practice boon for sugarcane farmers

Farmers cultivating sugarcane under a new method Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) in Nayagarh, Ganjam and Bargarh shared their experience about the method in a recently concluded State level workshop organised by NIRMAN and AgSri. The SSI method was introduced by NIRMAN.

Naba Kishor Das (48), a farmer of Khairapati, said that he earned Rs 5,200 from intercrops and Rs 26,000 from sale of buds to other farmers. Sources said during last 10 years, sugarcane production in Odisha has been declining by around 50 per cent. The productivity level is less than 32 tonnes per hectare which is less than the national average of 40 tonnes per hectare.

In traditional method of sugarcane cultivation, farmers spend Rs 12,000 per acre whereas in the SSI, the cost of cultivation in seed declines considerably. The SSI farmers only take the bud of sugarcane and raise it in nursery and transplant in the field. In the SSI method, farmers not only save Rs 12,000 per acre in seeds but also save in cost on water and labour. At the same time, they get a bonus from intercropping as the practice gives spaces between rows and plants.

Board of Revenue member Aurobindo Behera, State Programme Officer, UNDP Ambika Nanda, Joint Director, Agriculture, G.N. Mohanty and Prasant Mohanty of NIRMAN, among others participated in the workshop. Successful farmers Nishakar Pradhan from Ganjam, Duryodhan Champatray of Nayagarh and Dhaneswar Sahoo from Baragarh were awarded. Over 100 farmers from various districts participated.

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