19th June, 2021, Coimbatore
Shri Kailash Chaudhary, Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare inaugurated the International Conference on “Sugarcane Research: Sugarcane for sugar and beyond (CaneCon-2021)” today.
In his inaugural address, the Minister stated that though sugarcane occupies only over 2.5 % of the cropped area in the country, its contribution to agricultural GDP is almost equal to the total budget allocation to the agriculture sector. Highlighting the importance of ICAR-SBI's Co 0238 sugarcane variety, the Minister stated that the variety had revolutionized the sugarcane agriculture in North Indian States occupying about 84% of area.
Shri Chaudhary urged the scientific community for strengthening the research on products like ethanol, organic jaggery, potash from effluents and bio CNG to realize the Prime Minister’s vision of converting the agricultural waste into wealth. The Minister stated that the deliberations of CaneCon-2021 would ultimately help the farmers at the ground level to double their farm income.
The Guest of Honor, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR) outlined about an 11 fold increase in cane yield since the 1930s, due to 2.5 times’ increase in productivity combined with 4.35 fold increase in cane area. Underlining the Co 0238 developed by ICAR-SBI, the Director General regarded it as a classic example of how a breeding technology could bring about a revolution in sugarcane agriculture in India.
The need to use the new spheres of science, viz., genomic selection, genome editing and genome wide coverage in addressing the issues of water use efficiency, drought-tolerance and disease-resistance, etc., were also stressed by Dr. Mohapatra. The DG also outlined the importance of strengthening the research efforts on efficient conversion of ligno-cellulosic compounds of bagasse into ethanol. This, he stated, will be helpful for utilizing the whole biomass in bio-ethanol production.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr. N. Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore stated that the sugarcane is the second largest crop being grown in over 49 Lakh hectares in the country. He also highlighted the significant contributions made by the Institute to the sugarcane sector, by developing ‘Co’ canes.
In his address, Dr. Bakshi Ram, Director, ICAR-SBI underlined that about 79% of the area under sugarcane in the country that is occupied by ‘Co’ canes developed the Institute. He also highlighted the development of transgenic events for drought-tolerance in both of its leading varieties, viz., Co 0238 and Co 86032.
More than 1,000 participants virtually participated in the Conference.
(Source: ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore)