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An All India one-day National Seminar on “Mechanization of Sugarcane Cultivation: Operational, Environmental and Policy Constraints” was organized by ICAR- Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow in collaboration with Sugar Technologists Association of India (STAI) on 7 March 2024 at Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow. The programme started with the Council song and lighting of the lamp. At the outset, Dr. R. Viswanathan, Director, Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow welcomed the Chief Guest Honb’le Shri Sanjay Singh Gangwar, Minister of State, Department of Sugar Industry and Sugarcane Development, Government of Uttar Pradesh; Guest of Honor Dr. Sushil Solomon, Former Vice Chancellor, Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur & Former Director of ICAR-IISR, Lucknow, and Vice President IAPSIT; Shri V.K. Shukla, Additional Cane Commissioner (Development/Research and Coordination), Sugar Industry and Cane Development Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh, all the delegates and farmers present on the occasion.

He elaborated upon the achievements of IISR in the field of sugarcane mechanization and informed that the institute has designed, developed and commercialized many machineries like Sugarcane Cutter Planter, Pair-Row Sugarcane Planter, Raised Bed Seeder (RBS), Ratoon Management Device (RMD), Trench Maker, Trench Planter, Ratoon Promoter, Plant Residue Shredder, Sugarcane Detrasher etc. and has made its presence felt in the field of mechanization of sugarcane cultivation. Many of these machines were supplied to several organizations/sugar mills/farmers in different states. He apprised the audience that IISR regularly conducts 20-30 in-house trainings for extension personnel’s to promote technology dissemination.

Honb’le Chief Guest Shri Sanjay Singh Gangwar ji thanked the institute and STAI for organizing this seminar. He said that sugarcane farmers being backbone of the country are an integral part of country’s journey from developing India to developed India. He also said that the villages of the country would become smart only when the Annadata farmers become smart and to achieve this, mechanization and modernization of farming need to be promoted in the villages so that even the person standing at the last rung will get full benefit of modernization. He exhorted that with every single step from us, 34,000 sugarcane farmers would also take one step ahead. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Solomon said that the Indian sugar industry has transformed radically in the past one decade and mechanization is necessary to emerge from subsistence farming of sugarcane, conservation of environment and reducing drudgery. He urged the government to provide subsidy to promote the usage of agricultural implements among the farmers. Shri V.K. Shukla appreciated the organization of this seminar at an optimum time coinciding with the spring planting of sugarcane. He said that operational barriers are a major challenge for the adoption of machinery for which awareness among the farmers and resolution of their queries is essential. Dr. A.K. Singh, Head, Division of Agricultural Engineering, spoke in detail about the evolution of sugarcane mechanization at IISR since its inception.

More than 200 sugar industry experts, scientists, technocrats, technology providers, consultants, academicians, researchers and farmers participated in this seminar and deliberated on the subject matter. A number of thematic papers were also presented.

After the technical session, field demonstration of combined sugarcane harvesting, cane planting with cutter-planter, drone spray, multi-nozzle boom spray etc was conducted at the IISR fields for the delegates.

At the end, Dr. G.P. Rao, Emeritus Scientist, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi proposed the vote of thanks. The programme was conducted by Dr. Anita Savnani.

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