Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI)Improving Sugarcane Cultivation in India: An Initiative of ICRISAT-WWF Project. Training Manual

ICRISAT, - (2009) Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI)Improving Sugarcane Cultivation in India: An Initiative of ICRISAT-WWF Project. Training Manual. Manual. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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This manual has been produced as part of the ICRISAT-WWF project ‘Producing More Food Grain with Less Water: Promoting farm-based methods to improve the water productivity’. Our sincere thanks to Dr. William Dar, Director General, ICRISAT and Dr. Dave Hoisington, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT for their valuable support. We thank Dr. Shashi Bhushan, Dr. Vijay Kumar and Mr. Suresh of ANGRAU, Dr. Rajendra Prasad (Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore), Mr. P. K. Singh (Triveni Sugars, UP) and Mr. Prabhakar Reddy, Mr. Panduranga Reddy, Mr. Alwara Swamy, the SSI trainers and farmers from AP for their valuable inputs in bringing out this publication. We also thank the senior cane offi cers from Triveni Sugars, Uttar Pradesh and farmers from Punjab, Orissa and Karnataka who underwent training on the SSI methods at the ICRISAT campus and sugarcane fi elds of progressive farmers in Andhra Pradesh.


Water is increasingly becoming a major limiting factor for agriculture, especially where irrigated crops and dry land agriculture are intermixed. Often in the same watershed, both irrigated crops such as rice and sugarcane exist with dry land crops such as sorghum and millets. In such circumstances, the impact of irrigated crops on dry land agriculture is signifi cant, particularly in semi-arid regions, where irrigation is primarily based on ground water exploitation, leading to decline in soil moisture and seriously reducing the productivity. Further, the erratic trends in rainfall add to the growing complexity of the water issues. Thus, we need to explore every possible approach to reduce the water input to all crops, particularly those which excessively depend on scarce resources. Any water reduction to thirsty crops such as sugarcane will have a positive impact on the dry land agriculture in the same region. To improve productivity and protect the ecosystem, an integrated approach to agriculture involving all stakeholders is essential in tackling pressing issues such as the decline in productivity, ground water table, soil moisture and the uncertainty of monsoons, all of which are interlinked. On one hand, watershed management can improve the water resources in basins, but on the other hand, until and unless that water is used more productively, the investments will not yield results. In order to understand and address the water issues in a holistic way, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) entered into a partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The joint project on ‘Improving the water productivity of the agriculture’ is researching non-traditional and out-of-the-box approaches wherein the resource inputs are low and yields are high. The Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) is one such approach that could reduce the inputs - water, fertilizer, seed material - while improving sugarcane production signifi cantly. This farm-based approach gives farmers options to grow intercrops such as pulses to improve their income, while effectively using the soil moisture to grow dry land crops. This manual describes, step-wise, how to put SSI in to practice. It has been developed following extensive consultations with farmers and is very user friendly. It will be translated soon into several Indian languages so that farmers can use and benefi t from this new method. I am delighted that the ICRISAT-WWF partnership is working on solutions to address the water crisis without compromising on agricultural production. The WWF, with its main mandate of protecting the ecosystems, is working with a vision that the methods like SSI will help in producing more while reducing the ecological foot print of agriculture. Similarly, ICRISAT is collaborating with WWF to understand and integrate the ecological concerns of agriculture. This partnership is unique and we are looking forward to many more practical results on the ground. This manual is one such attempt. I do hope farmers and researchers will be able to use it effectively to address the pressing issues of sugarcane production in general and the water crisis in particular.

Item Type: Monograph (Manual)
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2012 11:54
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2012 11:55
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