The Punjab government has allocated an area of 400 acres for research and development on sugarcane to develop new drought and salt tolerant sugarcane varieties. Research is being conducted to improve sugar contents and productivity by importing sugarcane fuzz from Mauritius, West Indies and South Africa.
This was stated by Secretary Agriculture, Punjab Dr Ijaz Munir while presiding over a meeting on Tuesday. A two member delegation of Mauritius Sugarcane Research Institute comprising of Dr Salem Sauntally, Director and Sumaa Seeruttun of the Research Institute participated in the meeting.
Secretary Agriculture, Punjab said that to develop new sugarcane varieties, a five years project with total cost of 27.36 million rupees has been started at Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad with joint venture of Shakarganj Sugar Research Institute, Jhang and Sugarcane Research Institute, Sri Lanka.
He said that sexually and vegetatively reproduced sugarcane varieties have been imported from Mauritius and included in development of local sugarcane varieties. He also said that concerted efforts are being made to reduce yield gap between common and progressive growers in Punjab through development of high yielding sugarcane varieties, adoption of better crop management practices, biological control of insect pests by providing Trichogramma and Crysoperla Cards to farmers.
The representatives of sugarcane growers demanded to reduce time gap between sugarcane harvest and start of crushing season by sugar mills in the interest of farmers. They also demanded availability of sugarcane varieties, resistant to drought and salinity. Secretary Agriculture, Punjab constituted working group on sugarcane comprising of representatives of sugarcane growers, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association and departmental representatives to develop a clear road map to resolve problems of sugarcane growers and to enhance productivity on sustainable basis. He also directed to present the desired road map in the next meeting. He said that project regarding provision of solar tubewells to the farmers is also being finalised.