New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Spelling new hope for farmers, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified new high-yielding sugarcane varieties that are also resistant to water-logging, salinity and drought.
The new varieties of sugarcane have been identified for growing in the peninsular region including Tamil Nadu, interior Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, according to an official statement Sunday.
Of the new varieties is Neeraj (Co 99006), which has tolerance to water-logging, drought and salinity. The average cane yield of this variety is 111.48 tonnes/hectare (t/ha) with 20.48 percent sucrose content and 16.14 t/ha of commercial cane sugar.
'Neeraj has good field resistance to red rot and moderately resistant to smut. The variety is suitable for normal cultural condition. It is a good ratooner and has a good jaggery making quality. The variety is midlate in maturity and is recommended for cultivation in peninsular zone of the country,' the ICAR has stated.
The second variety is Damodar (Co 99004), which has an average cane yield of 116.69 t/ha with 18.76 percent sucrose and 16.83 t/ha of commercial cane sugar.
'Damodar is suitable for normal irrigated condition and is tolerant to drought and salinity. It is midlate in maturity and moderately resistant to red rot. It has a good jaggery making quality,' according to ICAR.
Now, farmers of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, western and central Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, will also have a good substitute for CoS 767 variety, states the leading agriculture body.
Another newly identified variety CoJ 20193 is recommended for normal irrigated condition and also for late planting particularly after harvest of wheat.
It is midlate in maturity and has an average cane yield of 75.93 t/ha with 17.88 percent sucrose and 9.31 t/ha of commercial cane sugar.
Four more varieties have recently been identified for commercial cultivation for the northwest Zone comprising Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, western and central Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.
These varieties are CoH 119, CoS 96268 (Mithas), Co 98014 (Karan-1) and CoS 96275 (Sweety).
'Although we have attained the productivity of 71 t/ha, we have to upgrade our agro-technology to improve it further. Sugarcane farmers should be benefited through front-line demonstrations of improved technologies,' said ICAR Additional Director General K.C. Jain.
India is the second largest sugarcane and sugar producing country after Brazil. In country's gross cropped area, sugarcane occupies about 2.5 percent and provides raw material to more than 450 sugar mills for production of sugar and by-products.