Farming 2 Crops

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Farming 2 Crops

Farming 2 Crop with sugarcane is not new to Punjab but only a few progressive farmers had taken it up, until this season. Farming 2 Crop is very beneficial for Farmers.

Punjab having adopted a diversification policy last year to decrease the area under paddy. The cane is one of the key targets with the government targeting a three-fold increase in the area under it. It is not anywhere as popular as wheat or paddy. However, it is to deal with farmers’ reluctance that the government has been promoting Farming 2 Crop. So that the combination ends, up more remunerative than paddy. Through district officials and sugar mills, it has taken up an aggressive campaign.

It does have some results to show. Progressive farmers in certain areas have reported they are earning three times what they did earlier after they started inter-cropping. Their cane with garlic, potato, and turmeric. In Layer Vegetable Farming, cane rows show three to four feet apart and this space is for the other crop.

Sugar Cane

According to estimates of the cane department, around 40 to 50 percent of the farmer’s already growing cane have taken to inter-cropping this autumn. At a few places, up to 80 percent farmers have gone for inter-cropping. It demands fewer seeds of cane, and yet gives a high yield, besides bringing in an additional income from the other crops.

The area under cane is not even two percent area of the state’s total agricultural land. Only 81,000 hectares was under it in 2012-13 and that is now up to 96,000 hectares. This is out of 42 lakh hectares under agriculture. Under the diversification policy, Punjab wants to enhance the area under cane to six percent (2.60 lakh hectares) in four to five years. Alternatively, the overall plan is to divert 12 lakh hectares from paddy to various crops.

Currently, out of 24 sugar mills, only 16 are running, nine cooperative and seven private. Particularly to run even these 16 mills at full capacity for 180 days, the state needs 2.60 lakh hectares under cane. Says cane commissioner, Dr. Ranjit Singh, stressing the need to promote inter-cropping.

Farming 2 Crop

“Farming 2 Crop was not very popular among cane growers because of lack of awareness but this year we have organized various seminars, camps for farmers and even sugar mills have sown on demonstration plots to encourage farmers,” the commissioner said.

Davinder Singh of Adrahman village, Jalandhar, experimented with garlic and earned around Rs 3 lakh per acre. Including the returns from cane, from his 18 acres sugarcane farm. “I have made 55 rows separated by four feet on a one-acre field, and the space in between was used for garlic,” he said.

Quality and Quantity

“In inter-cropping, we need just 6 to 10 quintals seed against 35 to 40 quintals. In the traditional method, which left hardly any room for Farming 2 Crop. There is a huge saving on seed and the yield is better and high. Against 350 quintals cane per acre, I have 585 quintals per acre from my field. Because of better spacing, cane gets air and sunlight and grows thicker. From one acre I have earned Rs 1.69 lakh from cane and Rs 1.35 lakh from garlic.”

Amarjit Singh of Bhogapur, Jalandhar, grows cane in paired rows eight feet apart, sowing potato and turmeric in between. “Potato is just a two-month crop which I harvest in January. In May I sow turmeric, which is a round-the-year crop.” Finally, he earned Rs 1.5 lakh from cane and Rs 1.5 lakh from the other crops.

In fact, the deputy director, Agriculture Technology Management Agency, Dr. Naresh Gulati, took many farmers to his farm. Dr. Gulati said inter-cropping increases productivity and gives higher returns than monocropping. For spring cane, he recommends two-month crops such as moong and mah pulses.

Cane development officer, Phagwara sugar mill, C S Walia said it handles cane from around 1,600 acres. Where farmers have inter-cropped with cauliflower, cabbage, and mustard this season. Also most farmers earned Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh only from the vegetables, he said.

Agriculture Commissioner BS Sidhu said inter-cropping can double a farmer’s income.

Content Source – Indian express – http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/to-promote-sugarcane-the-additional-crop-between-rows/

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