From the Director's Desk

The year 2015 ended with a happy note for the sugarcane farmers and the sugar industries, especially in Uttar Pradesh, the largest sugarcane producing state. Sugar recovery in UP state is showing a quantum jump during the current season. As on December 21, 2015 M/s Saksaria Biswan Sugar Factory Ltd., Biswan, Sitapur (UP) recorded the highest sugar recovery of 12.1%, which is comparable to Maharashtra state. On December 21, 2015, a total of 6 and 18 sugar mills of the UP state recorded ≥11.5% and ≥11.0% sugar recovery, respectively. Whereas the average sugar recovery of UP during last 42 years (1973-74 to 2014-15) was 9.38%, which varied from 8.69% during 1995-96 to 9.82% during 2003-04. The main reason responsible for this historic achievement is the spread of an early maturing, high yielding variety Co 0238, developed at Karnal Centre of the ICAR-SBI. Total area under the variety was about 4.03 lakhs hectares during the current season. All these mills with higher sugar recovery, are having a sizable area under Co 0238 and are crushing 15 to 66% canes of this variety. It is vivid that a variety can bring about a humongous change on sugar recovery. Such high sugar recoveries have been recorded for the first time during December month in the history of sugar industry in the sub-tropical India. This will certainly help the sugar industries in UP to recover from the distress financial situation and as a result the profitability of both sugarcane farmers and sugar mills will improve. The feedback received from farmers and sugar industry says that in the prevailing situation, Co 0238, the wonder variety of sugarcane, is the only hope for them. With the spread of this news of historic impact of Co 0238 on sugar recovery in UP, ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute is flooded with demands of seed of Co 0238 from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and A.P. This is a reverse trend, i.e. demand of a sub-tropical sugarcane variety in tropical India, happened for the first time in the history of sugarcane agriculture in the country.

The Institute has released 28 varieties since 2000, apart from a large number of varieties released by other Sugarcane Research Stations / Institutes for commercial cultivation in different agro-climatic zones of sugarcane in the country. In spite of that the sugarcane varietal replacement rate is very slow. The requirement of a huge quantity of seed (6–8 t/ha) seems to be the main reason for slow replacement of sugarcane varieties. To overcome this problem the Institute has initiated a program on development of hybrid varieties, which will be propagated through true seed. Success of this program will lead to change in mode of transportation of seed (for planting a hectare) from truck to pocket.


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