From: Prasanta Mohanty, Executive Director, NIRMAN

Farmers cultivating Sugarcane in a new innovative method called Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) in Nayagarh, Ganjam and Baragada shared their experience in recently concluded State Level Workshop on Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative(SSI)organized by NIRMAN and AgSri in Bhubaneswar.

In traditional method of sugarcane cultivation, farmers spent Rs. 12,000 per acres in seed whereas in SSI the cost declines considerably. In the new method of SSI, farmers take only the bud of sugarcane and raise it in nursery and transplant in the field. In the new SSI method farmers not only save Rs. 12,000/- per acre in seeds but also save in water, labour and at the same time get a bonus from intercropping as the practice gives spaces between rows and plants.

NabaKishor Das, a 48 years old farmer of Khairapati has earned Rs. 5200 from intercrops and Rs. 26000 from sale of buds to other farmers.

The SSI method was introduced by NIRMAN a grass root organization working in Nayagarh. The organization has simplified the method suit to local conditions

During last 10 years sugarcane production in Orissa has been declining and productivity level is less than 70 tones/hactare which is less than the national average of 84 tonnes/ hectare.The requirement of water in the sugarcane is 2000 to 3000 litre for producing 1 kg of Sugarcane. The cost of cultivation in seeds, manures, labour 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.

Shri Aurobindo Behera, IAS, Member Board of Revenue, Mr. Ambika Nanda, State Program Officer, UNDP, Shri G.N. Mohanty, Jt. Director, Agriculture, Dr.P.K.Nayak , Prof Radhamohan, environmentalist participated in the workshop. Prasant Mohanty, of Nirman presented the experience of SSI in the workshop followed by experience sharing by farmers cultivating SSI.

Successful farmer Shri Nishakar Pradhan from Ganjam, Shri Duryodhan Champatray of Nayagarh and Shri Dhaneswar Sahoo from Baragada were awarded in the function.

More than hundred farmers from various districts participated in the state level workshop on SSI. One of interesting innovation by NIRMAN was use of raw Coco pith with manure mixed are being used in nursery raising otherwise it would have cost more for procuring processed coco-pith. The participants in the workshop opined that Government should take the learning of successful experiment of SSI and upscale it in big ways.

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