Shri Chandra Shekhar Tiwari, an innovative and a passionate farmer of Narsinghpur (Madhya Pradesh) achieves more than double profit from the sugarcane-based field crops production. Prior to his entry in the farming field, Shri Tiwari was a Professor in the Government College at Narsinghpur. After superannuation, he started the farming of field crops applying the traditional package of practices known as HAVELI system of cultivation in his ancestral land. But, being unsatisfied with the yield and returns of the crops grown, he visited the different research Institutions across the country and had at-length discussions with the scientists at different locations to solve the problems related to low yield of field crops. He then thought of the sugarcane cultivation as a profitable option for the farmers of Narsinghpur District due to its stable and assured price at harvest in sugar mills or at jaggery producing units in the area.
Shri Tiwari decided to begin sugarcane farming and grew around 35 to 40 tonnes of sugarcane in one ha of land. But, his dream was to produce at least 75 to 80 tonnes per ha of sugarcane with the adoption of latest sugarcane production technologies. On visiting the ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, he had in-depth discussion with the Institute’s Director about the problem of low sugarcane productivity in Narsinghpur. Dr. A.D. Pathak, Director, ICAR-IISR constituted a team of Institute’s scientists for assessing the possible reasons behind low productivity of sugarcane in the area and also for suggesting the remedial measures for its improvement.
Technological interventions of ICAR-IISR and its impact on higher yield and profit in the district:
By visiting the sugarcane areas of Narsinghpur District from time-to-time at different occasions, the ICAR-IISR scientists suggested the various remedial measures for the prevalent soil and agro-climatic conditions of the area. Shri Tiwari and his fellow farmers have been in constant touch with the Institute’s scientists.
With the help of the ICAR-IISR, Lucknow’s technological interventions, most of the sugarcane farmers of the District are harvesting cane yield to the tune of 75 to 80 tonnes / ha from 2017-18 cropping season which is 32.90% higher than that of cane yield (52.0 t / ha) being harvested up to 2016-17 cropping seasons.
Initially, the farmers were advised to take utmost care for the improvement of the soil fertility by adopting the principles of organic farming in sugarcane-based cropping systems. The Institute’s outreach programme conducted in the District as a campaign encouraged the farmers to start adopting the green manuring of Dhaincha, soil incorporation of crop residues / sugar factory wastes and other organic manures with inoculation of microbial consortia. It has significantly improved the organic carbon content of Narsinghpur soils from 0.36% in 2014-15 to 0.76% in 2018-19 cropping season that led to the high crops yield with saving of 15% to 20% nitrogenous fertilizers.
Shri Tiwari made sugarcane cultivation successful and much profitable in undulated topography too using sprinkler irrigation and following the path of the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s ambitious project for “More Crop per Drop of Water”.
On the scientists’ advice for the Moist Hot Air Treatment (MHAT) of seed cane before planting and removal and destruction of cane clumps after infection in the crop, the farmers have now started growing diseased free and healthy seed cane nurseries using single bud set of sugarcane with the saving of 60% to 65% of the precious seed cane material.
The farmers learnt about the advantages of early planting of sugarcane in September to October and taking other popular crops as intercrops namely; potato, gram, pea, coriander, garlic, onion, etc., with cane for higher production potentials and economic returns. The ICAR-IISR’s technical interventions impacted significantly and covered 35% cane acreage is under intercropping of gram, garlic, onion, potato, cabbage, etc., with September to October planted sugarcane at 150 to 180 cm apart facilitating mechanization in sugarcane agriculture. They are presently getting high profit with the average B:C ratio of 2.11 as against 1.15 in 2014-15 from sugarcane-based intercropping system.
The vigorous campaigns were organized for stopping the crop residues burning to make soil and environment healthy. With Shri Tiwari’s help and concerted efforts, the scientists succeeded in making Narsinghpur as crops residue burning free District in Madhya Pradesh by making the farmers aware about its ill effects.
(Source: ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)