Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Bhubaneswar: The state level workshop on Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) was successfully organised by Nirman with support from AgSri, on 10th January, 2014 at CYSD in Bhubaneswar. Mr. Prasant Mohanty, Executive Director, NIRMAN said SSI, an innovative sugarcane farming practice based on the principle of “More with Less” is boon for farmers.
The cost of cultivation in seeds, manures, labour in traditional method of sugarcane farming is more. SSI aims to provide practical option to farmers in improving the productivity of land, water and labor. It responds to organic manure as well. Hence, SSI reduces overall pressure on natural resources and contributes to recovery of ecosystem.
The workshop aimed at to create debate and draws attention of policy makers about the innovative method of Sugarcane cultivation and its inclusion in govt. policy and programs. There was general agreement to the fact that by using SSI practices the sucrose content of the sugarcane can be increased, it saves minimum of 40% of water requirement, requires less seeds and also organic fertilisers can replace chemical pesticides with net increment 20 % yield per acre. It increases the profitability of the farmers significantly while reducing the inputs-water, fertilizer, seed material and improving the productivity of water, land and labour. Most importantly intercrop is possible in this innovative method of sugarcane farming which gives additional earning to farmers in first three months.
Mr. Sudhansu Bhusan Mishra, IAS, Retd. Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha appreciated the work of Nirman. He also cited that SSI is a proven method of improved agriculture practices and already adopted state like Maharashtra, Tamilnandu and Uttar Pradesh and Govt. of Odisha should adopt this new practice for benefits of farmers. There is also need to improve the management and development of sugarcane mills in the state and steps should be taken for involvement of these mills for upscaling the SSI. He also stressed that govt. should include SSI in massive scale.
Mr. Ambika Prasad Nanda appreciated the influx of young farmers in SSI system. He also encouraged them to continue with sustainable farming approaches so that real innovation can be made along with benefit accrue to farmers. He also stress upon the recognition of women in agriculture so that there will be equality in gender. He also requested to farmers to share innovative practices to other farmers for their livelihood improvement.
Prof. Radhamohan praised the farmers in adopting suitable and effective agriculture practices. He emphasized farmers should feel proud of their contribution in agriculture and culture. He also focused on organic farming and Home farming. He talked about various low-cost method of preparation of organic manures which can be easily and safely used for various crops. Agriculture scientists of Sugarcane Research Station, Panipoila, Nayagarh also shared the better yield from sugarcane farming through adoption of SSI method.
Farmers also raised the issue of compensation to farmers normally goes to land owners and true farmers does not get any benefit from govt. when there is any crop loss due to natural disasters. Farmers opine that Govt. need to look at the issue sympathetically. Mr. Natabar Sarangi, noted organic farmer stresses on organic method of sugarcane farming need to be adopted for self –reliant of farmers and SSI has potential for this. Noted columnist Mr. Natabar Khunita talked about farmer’s organization is essential to work for the interest of farmers.
The programme was attended by Prof. Radhamohan, eminent environmentalists and former information commissioner; Mr. Sudhanshu Bhusan Mishra, IAS, Retd. Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha, Dr. Ambika Prasad Nanda, State Program Officer-UNDP; Dr. P. K. Nayak, Agriculture Scientist, Sugarcane Research station, Panipolia, Nayagarh; Dr.Minakshi Mohanty, Agriculture Scientist, Sugarcane Research Station, Panipoila, Nayagarh; Mr. Natabar Sarangi, noted organic farmer and Mr. Natabar Khuntia, noted columnist, Mr. Shishir Kumar Parija, Retd. District Agriculture officer and farmers from Rayagarh, Nayagarh and Baragada exchanged their rich experience on SSI.