Sugarcane Development : Technological Interface between Tradition and Modernity

Sugarcane Development : Technological Interface between Tradition and Modernity
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Sugarcane Development : Technological Interface between Tradition and Modernity

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Publisher: Agrobios Publications
ISBN: 9788177543940
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Preface
In India sugarcane is an important cash crop. Sugarcane and sugar-beet are two main crops that contribute approximately 60 and 40 percent respectively of the total sugar production in the world It is an energy crop and provides food, fuel and fiber. India is the largest producer of sugar in the world, followed by Brazil and Cuba. There are two distinct sugarcane growing areas in India the tropical and the sub-tropical. In the tropical belt lie Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In these states, the yield of sugar is highest and the growing period is almost a year. The sub-tropical belt comprises Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal. About 70 of the total cane area in the country lies in the sub-tropical northern India. The centre of origin of sugarcane is probably in northern India. This crop has been known for at least 2200 years. Vast literatures particularly Indian literatures establish the fact that sugarcane has a very deep root in our heritage or historical tradition of our civilization. Standing on such strong base of tradition which led and governed our culture from time to time, raising sugarcane as an important cash crop has undergone a sea-change through its research and development R D activities in India and abroad. Such journey move with the time gave birth of new and new technologies of noble nature in sugarcane culture as a whole at different points of time starting from early nineteenth century till date. Such evolved technologies or innovations have gradually and rationally acclimatized into the specific cropping system keeping socio-cultural and economic considerations at the centre -stage. Undoubtedly, each such technologies innovations had to face the real challenge of factors like a relative advantages, b compatibility, c complexity, d divisibility and e trialability demonstrability in actual field situation at a particular space and a specific point of time as well. This crop has been contributing heavily for the growth of sugar industry which has the rare distinction of claiming the second largest industry in India and as such has earned for itself a very prominent place on the economic map of India. However, at present there have been considerable temporal fluctuations in both acreage and production consequently results in temporal fluctuations of sugar production. This phenomena needs proper address. Admittedly, standing on the rich traditional or historical foundation, R D endeavour- both in public and private sectors have created several land-marking or break-through situations by generating and disseminating technologies on sugarcane suitable for different farming situations. These include a crop improvement by evolving suitable varieties b general agronomic techniques and or amendments c management of ratoon sugarcane d integrated water management scheduling e integrated plant nutrient management IPNM f weed control measures g plant protection aspects h harvest management and i post harvest technology. Above all, economic consideration should be the focus on overall sugarcane culture. Apart from agro biological constraints field level constraints such as environmental situational, socio economic, infrastructural and managerial dimensions are standing in the way of overall sugarcane development in our country. Truly sugarcane remains and will continue to be a major agro-
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industrial crop. Besides, for the purpose of manufacturing the sweetening agents, this crop may be of several other uses like production of alcohol, energy generation, paper production from its fibre etc. However, though the importance of the sugar sector in terms of employment, income and rural development is well documented, successive governments have failed to pursue genuinely growth oriented policies for this major segment of the food processing sector. The sugar policy of the Government has been seriously lacking a long -term perspective. Controls, decontrols, partial controls, etc. have been used in past in an adhoc manner. The sugar industry is highly regulated with the Government exercising control right from cane sourcing to sugar distribution and pricing. Above all, India s total cane requirement as projected for 2025 AD is at around 625 million tonnes against about 325 million tonnes in 200-07. In such background, we need to raise the productivity levels of sugarcane and maintain the same. The urgency and imperatives of sugarcane cultivation on