High-Yield variety: For the man behind Uttar Pradesh’s sugarcane revolution, south is a sweet spot

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Published: July 19, 2019 1:44:03 AM

Recovery rate is the sucrose content in cane and a 13% recovery, the potential of this variety if harvested in 12 months, means 13 kg of sugar production from 100 kg of sugarcane.

 Uttar Pradesh, sugarcane revolution, sugarcane juice, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and UttarakhandIn 2018-19 season (October-September), sugar production in the country is estimated to be 329.89 lakh tonne, in which 60.15 lakh tonne will be from four southern states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Similar to what happened in Uttar Pradesh with sugarcane variety Co-0238, the southern states, with over 18% share in the country’s sugar production, could potentially see a big jump in the output as a new high-yielding variety Co-11015 is all set to be released next year. This will help states to focus on crop planning as area under sugarcane can be reduced to save water.

Developed by G Hemaprabha and Bakshi Ram of Coimbatore-based Sugarcane Breeding Institute, the Co-11015 variety can increase yield to 142 tonne/hectare from about 100 tonne currently achieved through the Co-86032 variety.

According to Ram, director of the institute, though the variety has been approved by Tamil Nadu it is yet to be released to farmers. “A large quantity of seeds will be made available to the state’s farmers in January-February 2020,” he told FE.

Apart from increasing yield by about 42%, the Co-11015 will also raise the recovery rate by 3-4%. Recovery rate is the sucrose content in cane and a 13% recovery, the potential of this variety if harvested in 12 months, means 13 kg of sugar production from 100 kg of sugarcane. “It is difficult to estimate at this stage how much production will increase or how much additional money it will bring to the hands of farmers,” said Ram, who was the main breeder of the Co-0238 variety, which is now widely planted in the north India including Uttar Pradesh and has now 44% share in total cane area of the country.

“By adopting the Co-0238 variety cane, farmers in five states – UP, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttarakhand – have earned additional Rs 7,500 crore annually,” said Trilochan Mohapatra, director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). He said Pusa Basmati 1121 and Co-0238 are two most important milestones of Indian agriculture research which directly helped farmers to increase their income.

In 2018-19 season (October-September), sugar production in the country is estimated to be 329.89 lakh tonne, in which 60.15 lakh tonne will be from four southern states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

According to a study by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (Icrier) and Nabard, in India, 50-55% of the irrigation water is consumed by just two crops — rice and sugarcane. The study says the irrigation water productivity (IWP) of sugarcane in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra is lower compared to other states such as Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The IWP of sugarcane in Maharashtra is 4.48 kg per cubic metre water consumed and in Bihar, it is 12.42 kg/cubic metre. The crop consumes a total of 60.43 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water every year in the country.

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