VELLORE: The Vellore cooperative sugar mill has started various measures to raise dwindling cane yields in its registered area, according to mill chairman M Anandan.
Anandan who led around 60 progressive farmers for a oneday session at the KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) located at Virinjipuram, 12 kilometres from Vellore on Thursday revealed that the aim was to double the present average yield of 30 tonnes per acre.
“We chose farmers who were serious about implementing what they learnt and who were also regular cane suppliers to the mill and once their attempts become successful, it will soon lead to other farmers in the area following their example,” said Velayutham, the mills CDO (Cane Development Officer).
“KVK scientists took pains to inform the participants that more than switching over organic manure, following scientifically proven methods was the only way to increase yields,” Anandan told DT Next.
“Cane yields which were once around 50 tonnes per acre have been drastically reduced due to over exploitation of the soil through the use of chemical fertilisers,” he added.
“However increased yields lead to the problem of labour shortage at harvest time and hence as a follow up measure the mill has enabled two farmers to purchase cane cutting machines costing Rs1.52 crore with 40% subsidy. This was because labourers knowing that farmers were at their mercy demand upto Rs1.500 per tonne as cutting charges whereas the machine will do the job for a mere Rs 600,” Anandan added.
“But machinery operators too demand an additional Rs100 due to limited competition and hence to overcome this, we have finalised deals with Namakkal based cane cutting machinery operators to bring four more machines to save farmers from spending money unnecessarily,” he said.