Agricultural Extension

Head: Dr. T. Rajula Shanthy, Principal Scientist (Agrl. Extension)

With the formation of Extension Section in ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore in the year 1981, a series of research studies on diffusion of sugarcane technologies and outreach activities have been conducted.

There are 3 Scientists under this Section.

1. RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

(in the last decade)

1.1 Gender issues in sugarcane farming The study was conducted in Coimbatore and Chidambaram districts in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to study the activities done exclusively by women and men, time utilization pattern, decision making and drudgery involved.

1.2 Action research project on sugarcane woolly aphid management

This was implemented in the reserved areas of Perur division (highest incidence) of Bannari Amman Sugars Ltd with an action research mode for control of woolly aphids. Awareness of the correct management measures of the pest was created among cane staff and cane growers and they were trained in shade-net method of rearing Dipha and identification of other natural parasites and predators.

1.3 Assessment of newer cane technologies: A socio-economic approach

Relatively new economically important sugarcane technologies viz., wider row spacing, pheromone traps, variety Co 86032, drip irrigation and mechanization were studied in five sugar mill areas in Tamil Nadu. Sixty farmers for each technology including thirty each from low yielding and high yielding divisions formed the sample.

1.4 Farmers’ participatory action research programme

Funded by the Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. of India with an outlay of Rs. 25 lakhs and implemented in four districts of Tamil Nadu, viz., Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Erode and Coimbatore in two phases. Fifty cane growers from four districts were selected as beneficiaries and 50 demonstrations were conducted in their fields. To start with, participatory tools were used to identify the needs of the selected cane growers, benchmark surveys were conducted and a plan was charted out. Seven technologies viz., Paired row/ pit method of planting with drip fertigation, integrated nutrient management, drought management, trash mulching, in situ trash composting, bio-fertilizer application and vermin-compost were identified for demonstration. The harvest data of the plant crop revealed that there was a mean yield- increase of 7.8% in FPARP plots (Plant) of Cauvery Delta Zone, 11.5% in North-Western Zone and 11.9% in Western Zone. Among the seven technologies, trash mulched FPARP plots witnessed the highest yield improvement (about 12%) followed by drip fertigation, drought management and integrated nutrient management in their order.

1.5 ITKs in sugarcane production system-scope and potential analysis for wide spread adoption

Based on surveys conducted with cane growers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 40 case studies under different heads viz., innovative practices, traditional practices, entrepreneurial initiatives and unique practices were documented with its scope, potential and limitations. The rationale behind the documented farmers’ practices was analyzed and published as a book.

1.6 Sociological appraisal of sugarcane production system

Surveys were conducted in 11 sugar factory areas to assess the adoption pattern of recommended sugarcane technologies, to identify the facilitative and inhibitive factors of sugarcane technologies, constraints faced by farmers in sugarcane farming and identify the research needs in sugarcane based on farmers’ perception. Technology dynamics of selected technologies was studied based on surveys conducted among cane growers.

1.7 Extent of adoption of recommended production- cum-protection technologies of sugarcane in Tamil Nadu and constraint analysis

Survey based studies were done in sugar factory areas to assess the extent of adoption of recommended technologies, identify the constraints influencing adoption and to determine yield gap in sugarcane. Secondary data were collected on sugarcane area, production and productivity for the last 10 years and productivity score analysis revealed that the high productivity districts are Namakkal, Theni, Erode, Perambalur and Thanjavur and the lower productivity districts are Vellore, Dharmapuri, Nagapatinam, Karur and Krishnagiri.

1.8 ICT diffusion

Data pertaining to ICT resources used by the cane growers, perception on ICT availability and use, barriers in access and use and their information needs and content priorities for CaneInfo website were collected from sugarcane growers in the reserved areas of sugar factories.

2. TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY

TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY - with 4 projects in operation under this programme

The section serves as the link between the research workers of the Institute and other sugarcane research and development personnel, sugar industry as well as sugarcane growers of the country.

This is effected through sugarcane research and development workers meeting, national / state level training programmes, on farm / institutional farmers training programmes, frontline demonstrations, KISAN Melas, method / result demonstrations, exhibitions, farmers’ day, radio programmes, video programmes, publications, varietal herbarium, museum and visitors programme.

Through participatory mode of technology diffusion (involving farmers in technology identification, evaluation and transfer) the Extension Section acts as a catalyst to accelerate the pace of technology adoption in several sugar factory areas.

The Institute-Village Linkage Programme (IVLP) that has been implemented by this Section in three adopted villages of Ciombatore District has created an impact in terms of yield improvement by adopting new sugarcane varieties and refined package of sugarcane technologies.

The Section is undertaking Impact Analysis in Tamilnadu to evaluate the impact of adoption of sugarcane crop management practices and improved sugarcane varieties

Computer based extension models on sugarcane production & expert system on sugarcane pests have been developed by this Section for the benefit of the stakeholders.

3..

3. TOT PROGRAMMES

Sugarcane Research and Development Workers’ meetings

The Institute is organizing Sugarcane Research and Development Workers meetings n different states. Strategies for improving sugarcane and sugar productivity in the respective states are discussed in these meetings and action taken on the recommendations is reviewed in the subsequent meetings. Details of the meetings conducted so far are given here:

State Year of commencement No. of meetings conducted so far 1. Tamil Nadu 1980 48 2. Andhra Pradesh 1985 21 3. Bihar 1988 5 4. North Karnataka 1989 17 5. South Karnataka 1989 20 6. Madhya Pradesh 1990 4

Institute Publications The Institute has been publishing a Quarterly Newsletter regularly since 1982. Each Newsletter contains a major article of wide interest and a few other research highlights and a brief report on outreach programs and administrative matters. The Annual Report and Research Highlights of the Institute are published regularly apart from extension pamphlets.

Training Programs Short term institutional training programs of 3-15 days duration on ‘Sugarcane Production Technology’ are organized for the benefit of senior officials from State Department of Agriculture, sugar factories and other development organizations in India and other sugarcane growing countries. These programmes are sponsored by Directorate of Extension, Ministry of Agriculture (or) Ministry of Food, Government of India. Training programmes are also organized on payment basis under Consultancy Services.

Radio / TV programmes Radio programmes on various aspects of sugarcane cultivation are given through All India Radio, Coimbatore, Trichy, FEBA radio, Doordarshan and private TV channels.

Frontline Demonstrations Frontline demonstrations on new sugarcane varieties, crop production and preotection technologies were organized from 1996 onwards as a part of the National Scheme on the ‘Sustainable Development of Sugarcane Based Cropping Systems areas’ and NFSM being implemented by Government of India.

Video film production Video films on important topics are being produced by the institute and provided to the stakeholders./p>

Use of modern gadgets in TOT programmes

Databases

Information on the performance of new sugarcane varieties collected through census survey and secondary data have been computerized for retrieval in the form of a database which serves as a ready reference for providing the required information.

Multimedia module

The module envisages the use of different multimedia building blocks such as text, audio, video, graphics and animation and contains detailed information from sett planting to harvest both for plant and ratoon crop with suitable visual clippings allowing the learner to learn at his own pace. The module was integrated using Macromedia Flash as the authorware and runs for nearly one hour duration.

Expert system on sugarcane pests

The primary goal of this expert system is to make expertise on sugarcane pests and their management available to sugarcane development personnel and cane growers in a portable computer based kiosk.

Institute museum

A museum is maintained in the Institute with a visual display of the activities and achievements of the Institute. The exhibits are in the form of computer based photographs, fibre models and LED display.

Messages to All India Radio/Doordarshan and Newspaper

Press releases highlighting important topics in sugarcane production technology are being sent regularly to All India Radio, Doordarshan and Newspaper for the benefit of farming community.

Visitors

A large number of farmers, officials and dignitaries, students, extension personnel and teaching/research staff from various Institutions continue to visit this Institute. They are explained about the various research and extension activities of the Institute, research accomplishments and the package of practices to be followed for increasing sugarcane production.

Replies to queries

Replies are sent to a large number of queries received from the farmers and officials working in various organizations on sugarcane varieties, their management and their utilization.

Participation in exhibitions

SBI participated in a number of Seminars/meetings and exhibitions organized by other governmental, quasi-governmental and private/voluntary organizations for educating the farmers/public about the sugarcane varieties and their management. SBI pavilion depicting the research achievements and technologies are displayed for the benefit of the visitors.

Website

We have developed an user friendly website https://caneinfo.icar.gov.in/ giving complete details on the various aspects of sugarcane cultivation.

'‘Cane Adviser’ a mobile app on sugarcane

Cane Adviser is an android based mobile app from ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu with details from planting to harvest with text and relevant graphics. It has a scheduler app, tailor-made for each individual registered user and reminder messages are popped up on real time mode. Query handler helps to raise queries as text or in graphic form that are replied via SMS / email. Ingrained in the module is a scheduler app, which is tailor-made for each individual registered user. The basic inputs for registration include date of planting, choice of crop (plant/ratoon) and option of season (autumn/spring). Corresponding to the date of planting, continued advice and reminder messages on the calendar of cultural operations to be carried out are popped up on real-time mode. The entire matter was developed in English and then translated to Hindi and Tamil so as to have the app in trilingual. The app was named as ‘Cane Adviser’ in English, ‘Ganna Salahkar’ in Hindi and ‘Karumbu Aalosakar’ in Tamil

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