Improving sugarcane cultivation in India: sustainable sugarcane initiative
Farmers cultivating sugarcane are facing multiple problems. Water is one of the major constraints and it is affecting the productivity and profi tability of sugarcane growers and millers. The problem is going to further deteriorate due to variability of rainfall infl uenced by climate change. So, unless sugarcane farmers are provided with options of high yields with much less water, India will find it diffi cult to meet its growing demand for sugar. Sugarcane is an important crop in India. There are 35 million farmers growing sugarcane and another 50 million depend on employment generated by the 571 sugar factories and other related industries using sugar. In Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, sugarcane plays a major role in the state economy. The Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) aims at providing practical options to farmers in improving the productivity of land, water and labour, all at the same time. In addition, it reduces crop duration and provides factories a much longer period of crushing season and hence increasing employment to a longer period of time. SSI is also expected to reduce the overall pressure on water resources and contribute to recovery of ecosystems.