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ICAR-SBI Signs MoU with Indian Sugar Mills Association to Identify Climate-Resilient Sugarcane Varieties

Silvester Goldwin, Vice-President of the South Indian Sugar Mills Association-Tamil Nadu, expressed optimism that the identification of improved sugarcane varieties through this project would benefit both farmers and the sugar industry as a whole.

Shivam Dwivedi
ICAR-SBI Signs MoU with Indian Sugar Mills Association to Identify Climate-Resilient Sugarcane Varieties (Photo Source: Pexels)
ICAR-SBI Signs MoU with Indian Sugar Mills Association to Identify Climate-Resilient Sugarcane Varieties (Photo Source: Pexels)

The Sugarcane Breeding Institute in Coimbatore, in partnership with the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) based in New Delhi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch a pioneering project aimed at developing location-specific and climate-resilient sugarcane varieties. This collaborative effort seeks to enhance the yield and quality potential of sugarcane crops in both tropical and sub-tropical regions across the country.

The President of ISMA, Aditya Jhunjhunwala, expressed his enthusiasm for the project during the signing ceremony. With a financial outlay of Rs.7.5 crores, the initiative aims to identify sugarcane varieties that offer higher yields, benefiting farmers across the nation. Jhunjhunwala highlighted the minimal investment in research and development within the sugarcane sector in India, emphasizing that projects like this would play a crucial role in meeting the country's sugar and energy demands.

Dr. G. Hemaprabha, Director of the ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, delivered the Presidential address and underscored the significance of this ambitious undertaking. She noted that this project represents the first of its kind in terms of scale and collaboration for the institute, with the invaluable support of ISMA. The project entails evaluating elite sugarcane clones in various sugar mills located in different zones of India. The objective is to achieve a cane yield of 100 tonnes per hectare and a sugar recovery rate of approximately 11.5%. The evaluation trials will be conducted over a span of five to six years, testing 40 to 50 superior clones for their yield and quality potential.

Dr. Sushil Solomon, former Vice-Chancellor of C.S. Azad University of Agriculture and Technology in Kanpur, and former Director of ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (ICAR-IISR) in Lucknow, emphasized that this project, operating under a Public-Private-Partnership model, will ensure long-term sustainability and profitability for the Indian sugar industry. It will be implemented in around 30 sugar mills across the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

Dr. R. Viswanathan, Director of ICAR-IISR in Lucknow, stressed the urgent need to make sugarcane cultivation more profitable in order to retain farmers in the industry. Projects like this, he believes, will help address this important issue. Shri Pankaj Wadhwa, Deputy Director General of ISMA, expressed his honour at being associated with the prestigious 112-year-old ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute and expressed hope for a mutually beneficial collaboration.

The MoU signing ceremony was attended by more than 150 scientists and staff members of the ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, symbolizing the collective commitment towards the success of this groundbreaking initiative.

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