Serious shortage of sugarcane seed next season: Expert

Coimbatore, Aug 16 : There will be serious shortage of sugarcane seeds in the next season in Tamil Nadu, following erratic monsoon and deficit rain for last three years, a senior official in Sugarcane Breeding Institute here, said today. Preliminary report of a survey carried out in sugar factories in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka by the Institute team, has suggested that majority of the sugarcane growing area was receiving below average rainfall, ranging from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, which would have a cascading effect on production of seed and seedling in the coming years, N Vijayan Nair, Director of the Institute, said.

Stating that the feedback from the factories in majority of the sugarcane growing areas like Dharmapuri, Pugalur, Tirunelveli and Theni, were receiving below normal rain required for sugarcane, Nair said this had resulted in decrease in area of sugarcane cultivation. Besides, sugarcane crops over 2,100 acres in Theni and 1,500 acres in Madurai district had perished, he said at a seminar on ‘Drought Management and improving Sugarcane productivity.’ Some sugarcane mills were making efforts to grow seedlings in their area, he said, adding, the situation in Karnataka was not that alarming.

The Institute has developed and carried out trials of genetically modified sugarcane varieties but it seeing the light would be a distant dream, following some environmental concern,he said. The institute is taking steps to locate Drought resistance varieties, he added. Finding fault with the industries for not reverting to the researchers and Universities, K Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, said scientists and researchers were neglected after finding and providing solutions to the problems of the industry.

The successful industry should at least provide some financial support to the scientists from their profit, as the researchers shoulder the responsibility of finding solutions, which would benefit the growers, he said. Sandeep Saxena, Agriculture Production Commissioner, Tamil Nadu, said the Government has created 70,000 ponds, which were helping farmers tackle the vagaries of the monsoon. Dr Palani P Periyasamy, President, South India Sugar Mills Associaion, the organisers, said for the past three seasons, sugar production in Tamil Nadu was witnessing a declining trend and for sugar season 2014-15, production was expected to be very low around 13 lakh tonnes.