Acute scarcity of cane seeds may hit sugar production

Erratic and deficit rainfall over the last three successive years could cause shortage of Sugarcane seeds
Coimbatore: Sugar production may be hit in Tamil Nadu as the state stares at a “serious shortage” of sugarcane seeds due to erratic and deficit rainfall over the last three successive years, warned Dr N. Vijayan Nair, director of the Sugarcane Breeding Institute.Presenting a bleak scenario of sugarcane production in Tamil Nadu, the official said cane farmers will surely be in distress in the coming years.
Echoing his views, Dr Palani P. Periyasamy, president, South India Sugar Mills Associaion, said sugar production in Tamil Nadu had been declining for the past three seasons. During 2014-15, it would dip to a record low of 13 lakh tonnes, he pointed out.According to Dr Vijayan Nair, the preliminary findings of a survey of sugar factories in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka has pointed to a drastic drop in production of seeds and seedlings in the coming years. “A majority of sugarcane growing areas are receiving below average rainfall, ranging from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, which will have a cascading effect on the production of seed and seedlings in the coming years,” Dr Vijayan Nair said.
Feedback from factories in a majority of the sugarcane growing areas like Dharmapuri, Pugalur, Tirunelveli and Theni is that they are receiving below normal rainfall. This has resulted in a decrease in the area of cultivation of cane, as crops have perished totally or partially over 2,100 acres in Theni and 1,500 acres in Madurai district.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Drought management and improving sugarcane productivity’, the director said the Sugarcane Institute was carrying out trials on genetically modified varieties of cane. “But it is a distant dream as there are some environmental concerns.” The institute is now trying to locate some drought-resistant varieties of sugarcane seeds.
( Source : dc correspondent )
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