ASSAM - AGRICULTURE
STUDY ON THE CULTIVATION OF SUGARCANE IN CACHAR
1.5. Temperature:— The mean annual maximum temperature in the district in 35.50C and minimum temperature is 11.00C. The normal monthly rainfall and the normal mean diurnal temperature in the Cachar District is shown below: —
1.6. The district is visited almost every year by one or two spells of floods and deposit of alluvial soil layers on low-lying riverbank areas which get submerged is a common feature. The plains area of he district has also a number of swamps and ‘beels’ with clumps of elephant grass and reeds. The district falls under red soil category. The content of the available K2O is low, but that of P2O5 is fairly high in most of the soils. Nitrogen contents are high, some paddy lands are highly acidic.
1.7. Because of flooding and water logging, agriculture in the rainy season is mainly confined to the high lands. In winter, these flooded and waterlogged areas are profitable used for growing pulses and oil seeds crops. Tea is also grown in the district in the hill slopes in considerable quantities. With more than 30,000 hectares under tea in 117 tea estates producing more than 22 million kilograms of tea annually, the district accounts for 17% of total area under and 11% of the total production of tea in the State, Paddy however is the principal agricultural crop of the district. Some salient datas about agricultural crop/crops in the district including sugarcane is given in Annexure – I. Sugarcane occupies for long years an important place among the cash crops produced in the district and ranks second in terms of area covered and value of the crops.
1.8. Sugarcane grows on a wide range of soils, but it thrives best in a rich loamy soil with a light admixture of sand. Although its cultivation is found mostly in the neutral or slightly acid soils of the riparian tract (phrange of sugarcane being 6.0 to 8.0), it is also grown in old alluvium where the soil is distinctly acidic in nature. Virgin soils or cleaned jungle land always given a good crop. New alluvium is best suited for sugarcane. It does well on lighter soils having plenty of organic matter and moisture. Moist stiff clays are unsuitable for it. All these soil are available in the Cachar district.
1.9 Growing season of traditional varieties of sugarcane is 10 to 12 months (for improved varieties 9 to 10 months) and it requires a warm humid weather for a greater part of the year, which is always found in the plains of Assam Temperature below 18.30C and above 32.20C arrest the plant growth, The temperature required for germination of sugarcane buds is available in the months of February and March and September-October, which are the periods for sowing of sugarcane. Next to temperature adequate soil moisture for including activity in the dormant sugarcane buds is an essential factor required for germination. With sufficient rainfall during the germination period of the cane crop adequate soil moisture is assured. The water required during the growth period of the sugarcane in the months of June, July and August is available in the form of rains. Since sufficient rainfall is available sugarcane is growth unirrigated in the district. For an optimum growth crop, requirement of water inclusive of rainfall has been assessed at 1000-200 mm. The Cachar district gets about 2,500 mm of well-distributed rainfall from April to September. Dry season with low temperature required for sugarcane ripening exists season with low temperature required for sugarcane ripening exists in the months of November, December and January. A temperature round about 18-200C of below help in the stoppage of vegetative growth, and diversion of energies of the cane plant in favour of maturity and accumulation of sucrose. These factors are favourable in the district.
2.1. The study on the cultivation of sugarcane in Cachar was taken up with the following objectives in view:
(i) To examine the trend of sugarcane cultivation in the district during the period of execution of the intensive agricultural district programme, Cachar;
(ii) To examine steps taken by various departments to develop sugarcane cultivation in context of establishment of a sugar mill in the district;
(iii) To examine the adequacy of area brought under the sugarcane cultivation in the operational area of the mill;
(iv) To examine the profitability of cultivation of sugarcane compared to other crops in the distinct;
(v) To examine the profitability of cultivation of sugarcane compared to other crops in the district;
2.2. For the purpose of the study, Government departments and other agencies in the district connected with the programme were contacted and various information relating to cultivation of sugarcane were collected and their opinion noted. The sugarcane nurseries developed in the district were visited and relevant data for these nurseries were collected. AS interview schedule for interviewing the officials and non-officials was devised and this was canvassed with the officials of the district for ascertaining their views. For examining the extent of adoption of package of practices, a village nearer to a nursery and within the command area of the proposed sugar mill was selected and 15 sugarcane growers were selected at random for interview.
2.3. Reference period: — The field investigations were conducted from April, 1975 and the interview schedule prepared for the officials and non-officials of the district was canvassed from May, 1975 and both these operations were completed in December, 1975.
Discussions were also held with the sugarcane development officer, Cachar sugar mill. Informations regarding the performance of the seeds farms in the district were collected. Various data were collected from industries, co-operation and agriculture departments and discussions were held with additional Secretary, Industries, Deputy Secretary, Co-operation and Joint Secretary, Agriculture Department. The report is based on the information collected from all the sources mentioned above.
PROGRESS OF SUGARCANE CULTIVATION IN THE DISTRICT
3.1. Sugarcane is the second important cash crop for the Cachar district. This district had traditionally four main sugarcane growing belts, viz. (i) Ramakrishna Nagar, (ii) Patharkandi, (iii) Lala-Katlicherra and (iv) Lakhipur-Rajabazar. In these areas sugarcane was cultivated in indigenous method.
3.2. 33.780 hectares of land were brought under sugarcane cultivation in the State, during the year 1971-72 out of which 4,500 hectares (13.32%) falls in Cachar district, and ranked as the second district in the State in respect of total area brought under sugarcane cultivation. Among the districts of the State, the first is place taken by Sibsagar district where 10,000 hectares of land were brought under sugarcane cultivation. Average sugarcane production in terms of gur is 37,716 kg per hectare in the State, where as, it is only 28,928 kg. in Cachar district. Thus is the fourth district from bottom in respect of average production per hectare in the State.
3.3. From the above table, it is seen that area under sugarcane has increased from 3.14 thousand hectares in 1955-56 to 3.87 thousands hectares 1965-66, first year of starting of Intensive Agriculture District Programme, Cahcar. The additional area brought under sugarcane during these 10 years period is 0.73 thousand hectares. But in the year 1966-67, the area under sugarcane declined to 3.64 thousand hectares. The reasons for the decline were attributed to the devastating floods during that year. From the year 1967-68, the area under sugarcane progressively increased upto 1969-70 but again in the year 1970-71, it decreased by 0.21 thousand hectares from the preceding years’ figure of 4.46 thousand hectares. The district officials of agriculture department indicated shall the decrease in the area under sugarcane during the year 1970-71 had been because of the fact that in the previous years the cultivator did not get good return on the produce due to local insufficient demand for Jaggery. Further it was reported that at some places due to non-availability of inputs in time, the cultivators could not bring more areas under sugarcane cultivation. Thus, it was found that absence of assured market and non-availability of inputs were some of the reasons for the declining trend in the hectarage under sugarcane cultivation. In the year 1971-72, a recovery was noticed but in the subsequent years again there was a sharp decline in the area under sugarcane and the reason for this was attributed to the absence of a guaranteed market. In any case, over the period 1955-56 to 1974-75, only 1.46 thousand hectares of additional area was brought under sugarcane cultivation. The fluctuating trend in area is depicted in graph-I.
3.4. Production: — Table 3 shows that the production of sugarcane in the district varied from year to year. During he period 1955-56 in the district varied from year to year. During the period 1955-56 in 1960-61, the production of sugarcane in the district had increased by 43.7 thousand tonnes. But in the following years i.e., from 1965-66 to 1967-68, the production of sugarcane did not reach the level of 1960-61 and it was only in 1968-69 and 1969-70 that the production of sugarcane again increased. The production of sugarcane had increased from 47.9 thousand tonnes of cane in 1955-56 to 147.7 thousand tonnes of cane in 1969-70. But in the year 1970-71, the production of sugarcane declined sharply to 81 thousand tonnes of cane. But in the following years an upward trend of production was noticed (graph I). Attack of pest and insects, non-adoption of improved methods of cultivation and improved variety of setts, were some of the main reasons advanced for low yield). Though these factors had resulted in poor production, yet it is very difficult to agree that due to these reasons, the production had come down so abruptly as shown by the above data. The district officials could not satisfactorily explain the cause leading to the low production.
3.5. Average sugarcane yield under the existing conditions of traditional method seems to be poor in the Cachar district as seen from the following:
3.6. The yield rates given above compare well with the average yield of sugarcane in some other States of sub-tropical sugarcane growing areas as shown below: —
3.7. Average yield of sugarcane per hectare in the Cachar district remained more or less the same over the period of 1955-56 to 1972-73 except in the two years 1960-61 and 1970-71. The average yield of cane in different years is given below: —
3.8. It is noticed from Annexure — V and above that the average yield of sugarcane was very high in the year 1960-61 and very low in the year 1970-71. The district officials could not explain the reasons for this high fluctuation of yield rates. In the year 1973-74, the average yield of sugarcane was 34.6 tonnes per hectare, which was lower than the yield rate of the pre-packages period i.e. the year 1960-61 (graph-I).
3.9. In the Table (3-A) below area and production of sugarcane in India, Assam and Cachar district is given for study of trend. (Graph-2).
3.10. Requirement of gur in the district: — Estimated requirement of ‘Gur’ annually in the district is 8400 tonnes, against the annual production of cane in terms of gur of about 13 thousand tonnes. The basis of calculation of requirement of gur is given in Annexure – 2. There is therefore, surplus production of sugarcane in the district.
A – Area thousand hectares.
P – Production ‘Cane’ thousand tonnes.
4.1. A sugar mill at Chargola in Karimganj Sub-division of Cachar district in under construction. This has made the cultivation of sugarcane of appropriate varieties in adequate quantities in the operational area of the mill of vital importance for feeding the mill with cane from the local production. Cultivation of sugarcane in the district will not only solve the problem of bringing raw material for the mill from long distances at higher costs but will also boost up the economy of the district as a whole.
4.2. With a view to popularising the cultivation of sugarcane in the district in the context of establishment of the sugar mill, the Agriculture Department had taken up a scheme for the multiplication of sugarcane seeds in 1974-75 for development of sugarcane nursery. The details of the schemes are given in Annexure-3. The scheme was designed to provide subsidies for sugarcane production and construction of 4 primary seed nurseries in Nalbari, Nowgong, Tinsukia and Karimganj Sub-divisions where four sugar mills are to come up in the State but did not stipulate any physical target to be achieved annually.
4.3. It was also proposed to establish 4 field offices at Nalbari. Karimganj, Tinsukia and Nowgong each headed by one sugarcane development officer. The sugarcane development officers are supposed to take steps for the development of sugarcane in their respective areas, prior to the posting of the sugarcane development officer, one sugarcane inspector and five field assistants were posted for looking after developmental work in respect of sugarcane. The duties of these officials are to motivate the cultivators for extension of cultivation of sugarcane and to acquaint them with the improvement method of cultivation of sugarcane, etc.
4.4. The foundation seeds for sugarcane are grown by the Assam Agricultural University in the Baruah Likson Farm at Dergaon. The foundation seeds are supplied to be Assam Seeds Corporation, Agriculture Department and sugar mill authorities for growing primary seeds. The secondary seed growers are selected from among the progressive farmer and tea gardeners of the district. Since the Assam Seed Corporation could not develop primary seeds to meet the expected demand in the proposed mill areas, the agriculture department chalked out a programme for development of Primary Seed Nursery departmentally and also requested the Assam Seeds Corporation to develop primary seeds in the sugar mill areas.
4.5. The aims and objectives of developing the sugarcane nursery were (a) to replace the traditional varieties of sugarcane and (b) to develop secondary nursery at the growers field. For this purpose, the Dullovecherra seed farm was placed at the disposal of Agriculture department by the Assam Seed Corporation in February 1975. But the Assam Seeds Corporation changed their decision in March, 1975, and asked the Branch Manager Assam Seed Corporation, Silchar not to hand over Dullovcherra farm to agriculture Department. In April 1975 the Assam Seed Corporation agreed to provide 4.05 hectares of land of Dullovecherra farm to the Agriculture Development for cultivation of sugarcane in 1975-76. It is seen from the above that till the end of the year 1974-75, the negotiation with the Assam Seeds Corporation was not over for taking possession of land for developing a sugarcane nursery.
4.6. For developing cultivation of sugarcane, a meeting of the officials of the Agriculture Departments. Cachar Sugar mill and Assam Seed Corporation was held in April 1974 in the office of the Vetarbond agricultural seeds farm. In the meeting the Branch Manager, at Assam Seed Corporation, Silchar explained the difficulties in financing the cultivation of sugarcane for seed purpose and requested the Cachar sugar mill to be the initial cost which was to be reimbursed by the Assam Seed Corporation when funds would be available with them. Accordingly, it was decided in the meeting to make available 2.8 hectares of land at Dull vecherra seeds farm for sugarcane cultivation by the Cachar Sugar Mill during 1974-75.
4.7. During the year 1974-75, 1.84 hectares of land of Dullovecherra seeds farm were brought under cultivation of sugarcane jointly by the Assam Seed Corporation, Cachar Sugar Mill and agriculture department. For the success of the scheme, the Assam Seed Corporation made available the land for plantation of sugarcane, the agriculture department had supplied the planting materials and the Cachar Sugar Mill had borne the cost of in puts. The cost of cultivation of 1.84 hectares of land came to Rs 18,407.80. The details of expenditure are shown in Annexure–4.
4.8. The harvesting of this plot was done jointly by the Assam Seed Corporation. Silchar and the Cachar Sugar Mill. The yield from this plot was distributed as follows:
Chief Cane Development Officer, Cachar
Sugar Mill – 151 quintals of setts.
Block Development Officer,
Patharkandi Development Block – 144 quintals of setts
Sub-divisional Agriculture Officer, Karimganj 86.36
Quintals of setts.
It was gathered that the setts to the Chief Cane Development Officer, Cachar Sugar Mill were given against the expenditure incurred by him for various in puts for cultivation of sugarcane. The rest of the setts were sold to the block development Officer, Patharkandi development block and sub-divisional agricultural Officer, Karimganj at a rate of Rs 25.00 per quintal. It is estimated that setts valued at Rs 9,500 was produced during the year.
4.9. From Annexure-5, it will be seen that out of Rs 70,000.00 earmarked for development of sugarcane cultivation under general plan in the district in 1974-75, Rs 22,425.00 was drawn by the concerning authorities, for utilisation in the year 1975-76 except an amount of Rs 5,617 which was spent for purchasing office stationary and furniture etc. A Jeep was also purchased for implementation of the programme.
4.10. A sugarcane development Officer had been posed at Silchar in the month of February, 1975 for implementing the scheme of sugarcane development. It is obvious from the above that the department could not proceed with the scheme of developing a sugarcane nursery during 1974-75.
4.11. Demonstration Programme: — For extension of sugarcane cultivation in the district, demonstration programme in the growers field was conducted under various plan scheme including intensive agriculture programme, Cachar district. For this purpose, the agriculture department supplied free of cost in puts, such as improved varieties of setts, fertiliser and pesticides, etc. to the cultivations on whose fields demonstrations were laid. The improved verities of setts used for demonstration were mainly co 421, co 419, co 997. As regards the number of demonstration conducted during the period 1955-56 to 1974-75, area of each plot, nos. of setts distributed on subsidy and fee of cost each year, number of cultivators benefited during the period, grants-in-aid offered, expenses involved yield, etc. could not be collected inspite of the best effort made. Therefore, it is not possible to discuss here in details these aspects of the programme.
4.12. There are two Seeds farms-cum-nurseries for sugarcane namely, Monierkhal seeds farm-cum nursery and Manipur Seeds Farm in the Cachar district managed by the Assam Seeds Corporation. Annexures 6 and 7 show the area under cultivation of sugarcane, varieties adopted expenditure incurred and the production derived and profit or loss of the seeds farms of the Corporation. The area under the cultivation of sugarcane in Monierkhal seeds farm-cum-nursery increased from 3.03 hectares in 1968-69 to 9.10 hectares in 1969-70. The area under cultivation of sugarcane remained the same in 1970-71. But in the following years, area decreased gradually and reached 2.63 hectares in 1974-75. The reason for decline of areas was stated to be cultivation of sugarcane in tilla land. Therefore, the cultivation of sugarcane in till lands was abandoned subsequently. Secondly, paucity of fund from 1971-72 onwards reported to have resulted in shrinkage of the area under sugarcane.
4.13. The varieties adopted in the nursery were co 313, co 997, co 740 and co 419. In the first year of the starting of nursery, the corporation adopted co 313, but in the following years two other varieties namely, co 997 and co 740 wee introduced. In the fourth year of he starting of the nursery another variety i.e. co 419 was introduced.
4.14. In the annexure 6 the expenditure incurred in the cultivation of sugarcane in the Monierkhal Seeds farm-cum nursery and the value of the produce is shown. The Corporation made Jaggery from the undisposed setts and sold the Jaggery locally. The farm was running with losses from 1968-69 to 1970-71, the highest amount of loss being Rs 8,516 in 1970-71. In the year 1971-72, the nursery derived a meagre profit of Rs 4,31.15. But again in the following year the nursery incurred as loss of Rs 1,124.40. In the year 1973-74 and 1974-75, the farm showed some profit. It was stated that the corporation had incurred losses, as the market price of the Jaggery was lower in those years. On the other hand, there was no sale of sugarcane setts, as there was no demand for it.
4.15. Sale of setts: — The seed corporation started cultivation of sugarcane in Cachar from 1968-69. In the annexures 8 and 9 the number of sugarcane setts sold to agriculture department and to private parties from 1968-69 to 1974-75 have been shown. It was gathered that the Monierkhal seeds farm-cum-nursery did not sell sugarcane setts to the farmers since the starting of the cultivation till 1972-73. The nursery sold sugarcane setts valued at Rs 3,662.50 in 1973-74 and Rs 1900.00 in the 1974-75. The reason for not selling sugarcane setts during the year 1968-69 to 1972-73 was stated to be the use of the setts in the farm itself for bringing additional areas under cultivation of sugarcane and new plantation in the ratoon area. It was also stated that there was no demand for sugarcane setts from 1968-69 to 1972-73 and the nursery made Jaggery from the setts derived from 9.10 hectares of land during 1969-70. In the third year of cane cultivation, there was only ratoon crop on 9.10 hectares of land. In the fourth and fifth years of cultivation, there was fresh plantation as well as ratoon corp. In the 6th and 7th year of cultivation of sugarcane i.e. 1973-74 and 1974-75, the nursery sold considerable quantity of sugarcane setts. It was presumed that the establishment of Cachar sugar mill had encouraged the state agriculture department for procuring sugarcane sets for demonstration purpose and the individual cultivators for introduction.
4.16. Manipur Seeds farm: — In the annexure 7 the area under cultivation of sugarcane, variety adopted, expenditure incurred, produce derived, etc., from the Manipur seeds farm is shown. In the Manipur seeds farm cultivation of sugarcane was started from the year 1968-69 and discontinued in 1971-72. In the first year, 0.61 hectare of land were brought under the cultivation of sugarcane, which was increased to 0.81 hectare subsequently. Only co 313 variety of sugarcane was cultivated in this farm. The Manipur seeds farm made a loss of Rs 1024.89 and Rs 437.09 in the year 1968-69 and 1969-70 respectively. In the year 1970-71, the farm made a profit of Rs 49.42.
4.17. The paucity of fund was the main reason for discontinuance of cultivation of sugarcane in the Manipur seeds farm. 12,000 setts were sold in 1968-69 by the Manipur seeds farm to the agriculture department and the remaining setts were used for plantation purpose in the additional areas brought under cultivation of sugarcane in 1969-70 and replacement of the setts, which died after few days of germination.
4.18. It was gathered that the cultivation sugarcane in these farms full package of practices was o adopted. It is seen from the annexures 6 and 7 that the expenditure incurred in the cultivation of sugarcane was not uniform and it varies from Rs 454.66 to Rs 29,65.20 per hectare. Due to poor fund position of the seeds corporation, full package of practices for growing sugarcane could not be adopted.
4.19. The Cachar sugar mill authority had taken up some measures for development of sugarcane cultivation in the operational are of the mill. Operational area had been divided into 3 segments. The first segment covers an area upto 10 k.m. radius of the mill, the second segment covers upto 20 k.m. radius and the third segment covers upto 20 k.m. radius. The mill authority had started work for development of sugarcane covering the area of 20 k.m. radius from the Mill site. This area has been divided into two Major circles under the direct charges of cane development officers. The whole area has been divided into 15 circles of sugarcane field assistant. Administrative chart of the cane development work of the mills is given below: —
C.D.D.O. – Chief Cane Development Officer.
C.D.O – Cane Development Officer.
S.C.F.A. – Sugarcane Field Assistant.
4.20. In near future the mill authority would extend the area of their activities upto 30 k.m. radius of the mill which would cover the entire operational area of the sugar mill. The staff shown in the chart, except 3 sugarcane field assistants, had joined their duties by March 1975. The chief cane development officer had joined his duty in the month of September 1974. One of the cane development officer had joined in the month of June 1973. Out of the 12 S.C.F.A., two had joined in the month of November 1974, 1 in the month of December 1974, 2 in the month of January 1975, and one each in the month of February and March 1975. It was reported by one of the cane development Officers that they had outlined the operational area for Sugarcane cultivation and compiled datas about area under Sugarcane. Upto the time of field investigation for this study. the staff had been engaged in the following work—
(a) Door to door survey about the area brought under cultivation of sugarcane in the operational area of the mill;
(b) Demonstration of cultivation of improved varieties of sugarcane setts and use of fertiliser and pesticides etc. in the growers field;
(c) Extension of area under sugarcane cultivation in the operational area of the mill;
(d) Publicity and propaganda among the cultivators for adoption of sugarcane cultivation; and
(e) Raising of primary nursery for multiplication of sugarcane setts.
4.21. During the year 1974-75, the mill authority had raised primary nursery in 1.22 hectares of land. The variety adopted in the nursery was co 997. Besides, the mill authority had developed 1.84 hectares of sugarcane nursery at Dullovecherra seeds farm and supplying all inputs (except the setts) and by supervising the cultivation. Thirdly, 36 members of demonstration plots, each of 0.13 hectare size, for showing the use of fertiliser were arranged in the growers, field in the operational area of the mill 71.68 tonnes of setts was derived from 1.22 hectares of primary nursery. These setts had been utilised as planning materials in the additional areas brought under the captive farm during 1975-76 by raising primary nursery and demonstration in the growers field. A little quantity was sold at the rate of Rs 0.00 per matric tones to progressive growers and to department of agriculture for raising primary nursery.
4.22. Publicity can play an important role in motivating the people for adopting improved sugarcane cultivation. The district agricultural Information Officer stated that departmental specialists on sugarcane had been delivering talks on the cultivation of sugarcane through the All India Radio, Radio talks were arranged according to season of cultivation. Secondly, cinema on the cultivation on sugarcane was shown to the cultivators. Thirdly, leaflets and pamphlets, etc. on regional language outlining the method of cultivation of sugarcane were distributed among the cultivators. Fourthly, announcements by loudspeaker had been given when some pest attack took place intimating the measures to be taken up for preventing pest attack. Inspite of all these measures, the cultivators were not found enthusiastic for the cultivation of sugarcane. The investigation carried out at the Officers level also revealed that the cultivators were not found enthusiastic for the cultivation of sugarcane. The investigation carried out at the officers level also revealed that the cultivators were not motivated for the adoption of improved method of sugarcane cultivation. It was gathered that absence of agro-based industry was the main reason, which was hampering expensive cultivation of sugarcane and adoption of improved method of cultivation. It seems that the role of publicity was ineffective in motivating the cultivators for extensive adoption of sugarcane cultivation and improvement thereof.
4.23. To know the activities of the Block Development Officers in regard to the development of sugarcane cultivation, the B.D.O. of Ram Krishna Nagar Development Block was interviewed. According to him the extension agencies had been engaged in motivating the cultivators for adoption of sugarcane cultivation. Training in this regard was imparted by the Extension Officer; Agriculture to the cultivators Demonstration in sugarcane cultivation was also given in the villages. But these measures had not resulted either in large-scale adoption of cultivation of sugarcane or in improvement of cultivation. The field investigation also revealed that cultivation of sugarcane had not gained popularity among the cultivators.
4.24. With a view to examine the opinion, the following Officers of the district were interviewed with an interview schedule devised for the purpose. Officials interviewed are:
(1) Additional Deputy Commissioner; (2) District Agricultural Officer; (3) Supdt. Engineer, Flood Control and Irrigation; (4) Branch Manager, Assam Seed Corporation; (5) Assistant Agricultural Marketing Officer; (7) District Agricultural Information Officer; (8) Executive Engineer (Agril.); (9) Chief Cane Development Officer, Cachar Sugar Mill and (10) Block Development Officer, Ramakrishna Nagar Development Block.
4.25. Three officers out of 10 interviewed said that the cultivation of sugarcane had not gained popularity among the cultivators even after the setting up of the Sugar Mill. According to them, absence of market for disposing the production is the main reason for this. Other reasons stated were (a) lack of resources (b) non availability of inputs and (c) general apathy of the people to take extra pain for producing more. But all the officers agreed that when the sugar mill would start production and the cultivators would find that some of their brother cultivators could earn a good return from cultivation of sugarcane by supplying cane to the mill most of them would be taking up its cultivation in the areas available.
5.1. With a view to assessing the popularity of the cultivation of sugarcane among the cultivators and the problems they had been facing in regard to the availability of inputs and market, a household schedule was canvassed in the village Fanai bond near the Dullovcherra needs farm under the Karimganj sub-division. The village Fanai bond was selected for canvassing the household schedule in consultation with the block development officer and extension officer, agriculture of the Ramakrishna Nagar Development Block. The village was selected on the basis of the following two criteria: (a) nearness to the Dullovcherra seed farm-cum-nursery and (b) availability of sugarcane growers and (c) location of the village within a radius of 0 Kms from the Cachar Sugar Mill.
5.2. The village Fanai bond is situated in between Dullovcherra and Nivea the two developing places known for marketing of jaggery. There were 113 hours holds in the village, out of which 69 households cultivated sugarcane in 1974-75. The total cultivated area in the village would be about 230 hectares out of which 60 hectares were under double crop. The area under sugarcane in the village would be about 34 hectares. The main occupation of the people of the village was agriculture. The general economic condition of the people of the village was not good. The inhabitants of the village wee Hindus, comprising of Bengalees and Hindusthanies.
5.3. The household schedule devised for eliciting information from the cultivators was put to the 15 cultivators, who were selected at random from the cultivators who were growing sugarcane in the village. In the following paragraphs, an analysis had been made about the cultivation of sugarcane during the 1974-75 by these households.
5.4. An analysis of the data collected from these 15 households are given below:
5.5. It was found that the cultivators had developed ratoon crore also. Area brought under ratoon crop and fresh plantation by the sample households under study is shown:
Out of 2.4 hectares under ratoon crop 1.4 hectares were first planted in 1972 and other one-hectare was planted in 1973.
5.6. Inputs in cultivation of sugarcane:— It was found that all the cultivators interviewed had used local variety of sugarcane setts. None of the cultivators interviewed had applied chemical fertiliser, pesticide, etc. as part of the improved package of practices. All of them had applied cowdung and compost manure in their plots. The quantity of setts planted and the quantity of manure applied in the 4.4 hectares of land under sugarcane are shown below: —
5.7. Non-availability of improved variety of setts and absence of arrangement for distributing fertiliser, pesticide etc. to the needy cultivators in the nearby areas were the reasons reported for the continuance of traditional system of sugarcane cultivation:
5.8. The production of raw cane in the holdings of the sample cultivators was estimated at 124 tonnes. Out of 124 tonnes of raw cane, the sample cultivators derived 12.95 tonnes of gur, jaggery).
The following table shows the production, in terms of raw cane and gur, for the sample households along with the sample average yield, district average production of sugarcane for the year 1973-74 in the district.
5.9. Value of the various inputs applied by sample cultivators for cane cultivation is shown in the table below. The value of the mandays required for preparation of land and transplantation, were accounted for the area brought under the cane plant and not for the ratoon crop. But mandays required for intercultural practices and harvesting for both the plant cane and ratoon crop were taken into account. As regards the crushing charges, it was found that some of the sample cultivators had crushed their cane at Rs 1.50 per tin of gur and some other sample cultivators had crushed at Rs 3.00 for every tin of gur.
Calculation of inputs in sugarcane cultivation in the holdings of sample cultivators.
5.10. As regards the Calculation of output, every possible item had been included and their value estimated as shown in the table below. It should be mentioned here that some of the sample households sold their production (gur) at the rate of Rs 2000/- per tonne and some others sold @ Rs 1750/- to 1900/- pr tonne. Thus, it was found that the input-out put ratio of the cultivation of sugarcane in the in the holdings of the sample cultivators for the year was 1.56. Thus is could be concluded that with use of better variety and packages of practices, cultivation of sugarcane and production of Gur could be more remunerative.
Calculation of output of Sugarcane cultivation received by sample cultivators.
5.11. As regards the marketing, it was gathered that the sample households had not faced any problem. It was informed that marketable surplus was disposed in the nearby market. It was mentioned earlier that the Village is situated in between the two places known for marketing of gur. It was gathered that the cultivators are not to wait for long for disposal of their produce.
CACHAR SUGAR MILL: REQUIREMENT & PRODUCTION OF SUGARCANE
6.1. The Assam Industrial Development Corporation (A.I.D.C.) a Government of Assam undertaking, was granted a letter of intent in 1971 for establishment of a Sugar Mill in the District of Cachar. A study team deputed by the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur, at the instance of A.I.D.C., undertook technical investigation in 1972 for selection of site for establishment of the proposed Sugar Mill and explore the cane potentiality as well as the technical and economic feasibility of the project. The study team after considering the various aspects recommended that the most suitable location for the Sugar Mill would be Chargula. Accordingly, a Sugar Mill is being constructed in the area. The location of the Sugar Mill and the areas where cane is grown at present is shown in the map given at annexure – 10.
6.2. Sugarcane is one of the most important crops in the area around the proposed factory site of the Sugar Mill, next only to paddy. With the establishment of the Sugar Factory, this crop will assume added importance. Therefore, various developmental schemes for this important crop have been taken up by all concerned. The objectives of these schemes are to produce healthy cane crop with optimum tonnage and good juice quality.
6.3. At present, about 2530 hectares of area is under sugar cane within a radius of 30 k.m. from the proposed site of the factory as shown below:
6.4. Some of the problems of production of cane as at present, are enumerated below:
(1) As the Cane growers are utilising the seed from their own fields without taking due precaution of diseases and posts, the most of the cane fields are affected by redroot and borers. Therefore, the existing cane of Co.-419 and Co.-313 is also unfit for further multiplication and require replacement.
(2) Fertiliser and pesticides are not used in cultivation of cane at present. With proper scientific methods of cane cultivation, it is possible to increase the average yield to about 62-74 tonnes per hectare against the present yield rat of 32 tonnes per hectare.
(3) The Sugarcane fields are full of weeds and no adequate measures had been taken to remove weeds.
6.5. The daily crushing capacity of the Sugar Mill will be 1250 tonnes. With 160 days of crushing about 2 lakhs tonnes of cane are required. Even with 120 crushing days, the requirement would be 1.5 lakh tonnes. Against this requirement the cane production on the basis of the present production works out to be about 0.52 lakh tonnes and taking 70% withdrawal only, the factory can expect about 0.37 lakh tonnes of cane safely. But by taking the area of 30 k.m. tonnes. The alternatives available and possible to implement are discussed below.
6.6. It is hardly possible to feed the mill for 46 days from the yield of cane in the operational area. Availability of cane to the mills can be increased by increasing the productivity. Sugarcane Research Centre at Jorhat reports that there is much scope to increase the yield of cane in Assam by following improved method of cultivation. The Research Centre has found the following yield rate under rainted package of practices:
6.7. Soil fertility, average yield under existing conditions and also rainfall distribution in the operational area of the mill suggest that all the conditions for a favourable sugarcane crop exist in the areas and potentiality of higher yield also exists. The officials connected with sugarcane production in the Cachar district are also of the view that average yield of cane could be increased by following package of practices. According to them, the following production could be achieved under different condition of cultivation in the operational area of the mill.
6.8. According to the sugar mill authorities, yield of sugarcane can be increased to 72-74 tonnes per hectare and a cultivator can earn a profit of Rs 1977.00 – Rs 2,471.00 per hectare cane in comparison to Rs 1,235.00 – Rs 1,482.00 per hectare from the paddy crop. The cane crop will also provide nutritive green fodders for the animals. According to another estimate (annexure 11 and 12) made in consultation with the sugarcane development officer, Ram Krishna Nagar average annual net income per hectare form sugarcane cultivation works out to be Rs 2219.00 if scientific method of cultivation is followed under rainfed condition. This income will be achieved without cultivation of the companion crops.
6.9. For the estimate, it is assumed that existing average yield of 32 tonnes/hectare can be increased to at least 60 tonnes/hectare for plant cane by applying modern method and package of practices under rainfed conditions. For the next two-ratoon crop, it is assumed that production would be 50 tonnes/hectare. Calculation of the cost of production and return both for the plant cane and ratoon cane are given in annexure 11 and annexure 12.
6.10. With the existing area, availability of cane to the mill can be increased to 1.06 lakhs tonnes only by full package of practices which will be sufficient for 85 days crushing only.
6.11. Availability of cane for the mill can be increased also by increasing the area of cultivation of cane. For this purpose enough land is available in the operational area of the mill. There are 38 tea estates within this area. The mill authorities, with the co-operation of the agriculture department had made a survey to find out the availability of land suitable for cultivation of cane. This survey revealed that the potential area of 5,260 hectares with the possibility of extension to 7,285 hectares is easily available from the tea estates. This will increase total production of cane with existing production rate to 3.14 lakhs tonnes and with scientific production to 4.85 lakhs tonnes. By taking 70% withdrawal of cane to the mill availability cane works out to be 2.51 lakh tonnes with existing production rate and 4.12 lakh tonnes with scientific production.
6.12. Besides the tea estates, there are land suitable for cultivation of sugarcane in the surrounding villages also. Potential area available for development in the tea gardens and villages of the operational area of the mill is shown below:
6.13. In the matter of availability of potential area for cane cultivation, the State Government has made it mandatory that all lands found surplus under the ceiling act with the tea gardens within the radius of 35 k.m. of the mill, which are found suitable for cane cultivation, and where no person has acquired any legal right would be kept reserved for cane cultivation. The State government have also decided that in respect of such land any person who has acquired any legal right, wherever possible, a condition will be included, in the relevant patta that the pattadar would cultivate sugarcane in the land for supplying it to the mill, if so required by government. This decision of the government will certainly help increase production of sugarcane in the district and go a long way to bridge the existing gap between the requirement of sugar cane from the mill and its present availability, provided this provision is acted upon and the agriculture and industries departments take immediate action to see that sugarcane cultivation are started in these areas immediately with improved varieties.
6.14. Some of the tea estates are keen on cultivation of sugarcane in their available land and are committed to cultivate cane from planting season of 1975-76. The tea estates which are committed to cultivate can are:
6.15. Since the supply of cane will not be sufficient from the existing area, even by boosting production by adopting full package of practices, there is no other alternative but to increase the area under sugarcane in the operational area of the mill. If all the additional potential areas in the operational area are brought under cane cultivation, availability of cane to the mill will be to the tune of 3.92 lakh tonnes as per existing production are and 7.30 lakh tonnes as per scientific method of production.
6.16. The mill authority has taken up a development scheme to raise the cane area to 2700 hectares by 1975-76 and 3900 hectares by 1976-77 in the operational area of the mil. It was reported that with the present yield rate under existing conditions of traditional method of cultivation, the cane production in 3900-hectare area would hardly be sufficient for 70 days crushing. The mill authority had already chalked out a crash programme to bring additional area under sugarcane involving an outlay of Rs 9.00 lakhs per year for 3 years. Under this programme, an additional area of 1000 hectares of land would be brought under cultivation of sugarcane during the sowing season of 1976-77. The setts required for 1000 hectares would be purchased from the local cane growers and would be distributed to cultivators participating in this crash programme, and their entire produce would be purchased for the factory during 1976-77, no matter whether the factory would be started or not. But the mill authorities are faced with the problem of finding finance for the scheme. It was gathered that the Chief Cane Development Officer of the Cachar Sugar Mill had initiated discussion with the Branch Managers of United Bank of India and State Bank of India etc. of Silchar for financing the above scheme. Other financial institutions outside the State had also been moved for financing the above scheme but no decision had been taken finally for financing their crash scheme upto the time of writing this report.
1. Cachar district ranks second in the State in respect of total area brought under sugarcane cultivation. In respect of average cane production per hectare in the State, the district ranks fourth from bottom. But the soil condition, rainfall distribution, temperature, etc. suggest that all conditions favourable for higher yield of cane exist in the district.
2. A steady increase of area under sugarcane in the district is noticed (graph number 1). In the year 1974-75 area under sugarcane was 4.60 thousand hectares, against 3.14 thousand hectares in 1955-56. Average yield of sugarcane per hectare in the district remained more or less same during the period 1955-56 to 1972-73 at 28 tonnes per hectare. But it was very high in 1960-61 (37.4 tonnes per hectare) and very low in the year 1970-71 (19.1 tonnes per hectare). The concerned district officials could not explain the reasons for this volatile fluctuation of the yield rate.
3. Stagnation of average yield rate of cane per hectare is a matter of concern. For improving the cane yield, adequate irrigation, good seed, sufficient and suitable fertiliser, plant protection services, etc. are to be provided. The sugar mill authority and other organisations and agencies concerned with cane development should provide necessary help and extension service to cane growers in this regard to increase productivity.
4. With a view to popularising the cultivation of sugarcane in the district, the Agriculture Department had taken up a scheme for multiplication of sugarcane seeds. But progress in this regard seems to be not encouraging. Out of the amount of Rs 70,000.00 earmarked for development of sugarcane cultivation under the general plan in the district in 1974-75, Rs 22,425.00 was drawn by the concerning authorities for utilisation in the year 1975-76 except an amount of Rs 5,617, which was spent for purchasing office stationary, and furniture, etc. A jeep was also purchased for implementation of the programme. The physical achievement of the scheme is yet to be seen.
5. There are two seed-farms-nurseries in the district under the Assam Seeds Corporation. But acreage under its programme had gone down gradually reportedly due to absence of demand for sugarcane setts and paucity of fund for cultivation of sugarcane by Assam Seeds Corporation. But cultivation of cane in the nurseries were again picking up from 1974-75 due to the demand of seeds for demonstration purpose by the Agriculture department and extension of cultivation by the cultivators as a result of setting up of a sugar mill in the district. Cultivation of sugarcane in the seed farms had not been done with the full package of practices.
6. The Cachar Sugar Mill authority had taken up some measures for development of sugarcane in the operational area of the mill. Demonstration of cultivation of improved varieties, use of fertiliser and pesticides, publicity and propaganda for extension of area under sugarcane, etc. are yet to bring about the desired results. Lack of resources, non-availability of inputs at low cost, absence of market for disposing of the produce, apathy of the people to take extra pain for producing more. Etc. are some of the reasons for slow expansion of cultivation of sugarcane in the district.
7. By interviewing 15 cultivators in a village in the operational area of the mill, it was seen that about 18.9% of the net cultivated area was under sugarcane. It was found that all the cultivators interviewed had used local variety of sugarcane setts. None of the cultivators interviewed has applied chemical fertiliser, pesticides, etc. Non-use of improved varieties of seeds and absence of arrangements for distributing fertiliser, pesticides, etc. to the needy cultivators in the nearby areas were the reasons reported to have resulted in continuance of traditional system of sugarcane cultivation. As regards marketing, it was gathered that the sample cultivators had not faced any problem. Input-output ratio of cultivation of sugarcane and production of jaggery by the sample cultivators was 1:1.56. Net profit per hectare for production of jaggery worked out to be Rs 2,376.54.
8. It is reported that seed material has degenerated due to continuous use and is giving diminishing yield and poor quality. Introduction of new improved variety of seed is very important so that in the next 4-5 years, the entire area could be provided with healthy and disease-free cane seed of improved variety. For this purpose, a phased programme for coverage of the operational area of the mill should be prepared. To popularise the new seed, transportation of the seed material from the source of supply to the grower’s premises or to a nearby point need be arranged.
9. Supply of disease-free improved variety of seed has assumed added importance because of the fact that now about 80% of the area of the district is covered by traditional varieties. Before the establishment of the sugar mill, demand for the setts was negligible. As the sugar mill is coming up now, demand for disease-free and high quality seed is expected to go up. To met this expected demand, good nurseries should be raised. It is necessary to plan ahead for meeting the developing situation so that enough of improved varieties is available to replace the inferior one.
10. At present, about 2530 hectors of land are under sugarcane cultivation within a radius of 30 kilometres from the site of the mill. On the basis of the present production, the cane production, within 10 kilometre radius of the mill works out to be about 0.52 lakh tonnes and taking 70% withdrawal only. The factory can expect about 0.37 lakh tonnes of cane safely. But taking the area of 30 Kilometre radius of the mill, availability of cane works out to be 0.37 lakh tonnes against the requirement of 2 lakh tonnes of cane by the mill.
11. Availability of cane to the mill can be increased either by extension of area under cane cultivation or by intensive cultivation by raising production of cane per hectare. According to the expects with proper scientific method of can cultivation, it is possible to increase the yield to about 62-74 tonnes per hectare against the present yield rate of 32 tonnes per hectare. By assuming that production could be increased to at least 60 tonnes per hectare for plant cane and 50 tonnes per hectare for ratoon crop by applying modern method and package of practices under rainfed condition on the existing area under sugarcane, availability of cane to the mill can be increased to 1-06 lakh tonnes.
12. Since the produce from the existing operational area is not sufficient to feed the mill, there in no other alternative than to extend the area under cultivation in the operational area of the mill. There are 38 tea estates within this area. The mill authorities with the co-operation of the agriculture department had made a survey to find out the availability of land suitable for cultivation of cane. This survey revealed that the potential area of 5260 hectares with the possibility of extension to 7,285 hectares is easily available from the tea estates. If this additional area from the tea gardens are brought under sugarcane cultivation, availability of cane to the mill work out to be 2.51 lakh tonnes with the existing production rate and 4.52 lakh tonnes with scientific production.
13. Besides the tea estates, there is land suitable for cultivation of sugarcane in the villages of the operational area. If all the additional potential areas in the operational area of the mill area brought under cane cultivation, availability of cane to the mill works out to be 3.92 lakh tonnes as per existing production rate and 7.30 lakh tonnes as per scientific method of production (Histogram 1.
14. In the matter of availability of potential area for cane cultivation, the State Government has made it mandatory that all lands found surplus under the ceiling act with the tea gardens within the radius of 35 kilometres of he mill, which are found suitable for cane cultivation and where no person has acquired any legal right, would be kept reserved for cane cultivation. The State Government has also decided that in respect of such land, any person who has acquired and legal right, wherever possible, a condition will be included in the relevant patta that the pattadar would cultivate sugarcane in the land for supplying it to the mill, if so desired by Government. This decision of the Government will certainly help increase production of sugarcane in the district.
15. Assured supply of sugarcane for the factory is of utmost importance. Therefore, urgent steps need be taken for abundant production of cane in the operational area of the mill. For this purpose, agriculture department have to draw up necessary plan for cans development in the operational area of the mill. The mill authority has to take steps to cultivate under its own control in the proposed 163 hectares land. Arrangement may be made with the grower by way of contract, for supplying specific quality of cane every year to the mill, at least for 5 years.
16. At present, the entire sugarcane produce is utilised for production of jaggery as there is no other alternative. In future, a major portion of the cane produced in the operational area of the mill will be available to it, if the price of the cane is attractive. For assured supply of cane to the mill, the mill authority will have to provide facilities and help to the growers of the operational area of the mill in lieu of contract for supply of fixed quantity of cane for at least 5 years. This type of contract, as well as mill’s own cultivation of cane will discourage the diversion of cane for production of jaggery and khandsari.
17. It is estimated that cultivation of sugarcane in 80% of the area in the district is done over tillah land. Trials may be conducted to find out Cachar district. Research is needed also to find out the proper timing of sowing, spacing of the plants, method and frequency of irrigation for getting best result with the utmost economy of water, selection of fertilisers and their use in optimum doses, pest and disease control and technique of harvesting of sugarcane so that fresh and vigorous crop may come up from the roots.
18. The Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow has suggested a new technology of cultivating sugarcane which is known as the ‘technique of companion cropping “By this method not only the total production of sugarcane can be increased sizably in the district but also substantial crop, of wheat, potato, mustard, etc. can be raised simultaneously on the same piece of land with sugarcane as the main crop. This method of cultivation is not followed I the district yet. Research is required to determine the pattern in which main and companion crops can be grown in each type of soil in the district for maximising production and to encourage cultivators to take up production of the cane without giving up the other crops which they are growing in their fields now.
19. Extension of cultivation of sugarcane in the surplus land of the tea gardens, which are generally tilla land in the operational area of the mill, should be urgently taken up. At present, tilla lands have not been used for any productive purpose and utility cost of use of such land for sugarcane cultivation will be practically nil.
Statement showing the area and production some important agricultural crops in Cachar district from the year 1972-73 to 1974-75
Production of Jute, Cotton and Mesta area in bales of 180 Kg.
* Seems to be on the high side.
Cultivation of sugarcane at Monierkal seed farm cum nursery
Cultivation of Sugarcane at Manipur seeds farm
Cost of cultivation and margin of profit per hectare of a sugarcane initially land (for plant cane)
Total cost = A + B + C
= Rs 3,452.00 + Rs 27.50 + Rs 3,370.00
= Rs 6,849.50
Field: 1st Year : 60 M.T. Rs 6,849.67 Rs 7,600.00
2nd Year: 50 M.T. Rs 3,246.68 Rs 6,250.00
3rd Year : 50 M.T. Rs 3,246.68 Rs 6,250.00
Total Rs 13,343.03 Rs 20,000.00
Net income = Rs 20,000.00 = Rs 13,343.03
= Rs 6,656.97
Net income per year Rs 2,219.00
Total cost = A + B + C
= Rs 2,287.23 + Rs 27.50 + Rs 931.95
= Rs 3,246.68
Yield of cane 50 tonnes per hectare
@ Rs 125.00 per tonne = Rs 6,250.00
Net profit per hectare Rs 6250.00 – Rs 3246.68
= Rs 3,003.32
Page-1: Para-1: Industries Department: — No Comments
Agriculture Department: — Though the area under sugarcane in Cachar district is comparatively more than in other district (second to Sibsagar), yet the majority of the areas are on hillocks with no proper arrangements for terracing under such conditions the availability of soil moisture for sugarcane crop specially during the critical months of February to May and September to December is a limiting factor in determining the sugarcane yield. Moreover the ratoon crop of more than 3 years is a common practice in Cachar. Hence the average yield is very poor. Under the sugarcane development scheme of the department of agriculture and also of the Cachar sugar mill for last two years these conditions are being improved.
Page-1: Para-2: Industries Department: — No comments
Agriculture Department: Increase in area under sugarcane in Cachar was seen from 1973-74 onwards. This was because of the fact that the department was taking actions for increasing the area under sugarcane to feed the Cachar sugar mill by 1976-77 (December). The main reason for fluctuating low yield in different years in Cachar district was the fluctuating rainfall distribution during the critical months.
Page-1: Para-3: Industries Department: — Cachar sugar mill has taken up a five year action programme of cane development in the operational area of for adoption of all packages of practice, modern method of cane cultivation, plant protection measures, application of heat therapy to seed materials, etc. to ensure growth of healthy and disease-free quality cane.
Agriculture Department: — Stagnation of average yield of sugarcane was a mater or concern for the department also and presently the department was taking up action for supply of good and healthy seed materials and extension service on improved cultivation methods. It was hoped that these attempts would prove successful. It may be mentioned here that this year the department proposed to supply 70,000 tonnes of sugarcane to the mill although the mill would have been satisfied with only 50,000 tonnes.
Page-1: Para-4: Industries Department: — No comments
Agriculture Department: — This was the initial stage of the scheme and hence expenditure on seed multiplication was less. Some expenditure was incurred for establishment of the office of the sugarcane development officer.
Page-2; Para-5: Agriculture Department: — The cultivation of sugarcane for setts production in the two seeds farms was now being taken up under full package of practices.
Industries Department: — No comments.
Page-2: Para-6 (1): — Industries Department: As per area multiplication programme for 1976-77, season, an additional area of 30.00 acres will be brought under sugarcane cultivation in addition to the existing area by supplying healthy and disease-free seed material by Cachar sugar mills from its seed multiplication farm and other farms of Assam Seeds Corporation and department of agriculture. As an incentive to the cane growers and to encourage them to take up sugar cane cultivation, the agriculture department had sanctioned this year Rs 7.50 lakhs for the extension programme as grants-in-aid/subsidy at the rate of Rs 250/- per acre. This amount was being distributed by Cachar sugar mills to the cane cultivators in the form of inputs.
(2) As per seed multiplication programme for 1976-77 for meeting the future demand of seed materials as well as to replace the existing variety by disease-free high yielding variety of sugarcane, the Cachar sugar mill along with State Agriculture Department were raising secondary seed nursery farms in an area of 500 acres, in the growers fields. Requirement of seed materials was being arranged from the seed demonstration farms of Cachar sugar mills, department or agriculture, Assam Seeds Corporation and Panbari Farming Corporation. That Cachar Sugar Mills Ltd. Has brought 8 high yielding variety of sugar cane from Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Luoknw Gorakhpur and Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat and planted in their seed multiplication-cum-demonstration farms covering an area of 78 acres at Anipur near the factory. Whatever varieties were found suitable for multiplication had been taken up in consultation with the Agricultural University and State Agriculture Department.
Cachar Sugar Mills Ltd had provided Rs 4.5 lakhs as interest free credit facility for the purpose of planting materials and other inputs Rs 900 per acre. In addition to this, Rs 20,000 was provided for the transport facility for transporting seed materials and other inputs under the seed multiplication programme.
The department of agriculture had also provided a grants-in-aid subsidy of Rs 1.25 lakhs at the rate of Rs 250 per acre for this programme.
(3) Transfer of technology: — For motivating the growers, the company had already drawn up a programme of 220 numbers of field demonstrations to be conducted in the growers fields and the ara of each field demonstration would approximately 1/3rd of an acre. The sugar mill will supply planting materials, fertilisers insecticides, etc., free of cost to the tune of Rs 77,000. These demonstrations will be conducted with full package of practices under the technical supervision of the qualified staff of Cachar sugar mill and the department of agriculture to educate small cultivators in improved methods of cane cultivation with ultimate objective of achieving higher yield per acre of In addition to this the local cultivators were periodically trained in different methods of cultivation in the seed multiplication farm-cum-demonstration farm of Cachar sugar mill.
Agriculture Department: — The result of sugarcane development programme initiated by the department and the Cachar sugar mill authority was now gaining momentum. The farmers were also taking up sugarcane cultivation more actively, as they were confident of getting a good price from the mill from the current crushing season.
Page-2: Para-77: Industries department: — No comments.
Agriculture Department: — It is difficult to know from the common cultivators regarding the variety of sugarcane used by them for planting. Local variety of sugarcane have long been replaced to the extent of more than 50% of the area by improved varieties like Co 313, Co 421 and Co 419. For the cultivators these varieties have almost become local and hence at the time of interview it is natural that they replied that they did not get improved varieties, which in fact means that during the recent past these varieties have not been replaced by newer varieties like Co 740 and Co 997.
Page-3: Para-8: Industries Department: — No comments.
Agriculture Department: — This point has attracted the attention of the agriculture department, Dr Kisan Singh of sugar research station of ICAR mentioned this fact to the department two years back. According the department had taken up programme for graded replacement of old disease susceptible varieties by new disease resistant ones. For supply of healthy and disease-free setts the department had set-up two hot-air treatment plants for sugarcane setts within Cachar sugar mill zone. This would treat the setts issued for cultivation in the mill zone area. *Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
Page-3: Para-9: Industries Department: — Same as para 6.
Agriculture Department: This has been explained at Para-8 above. The department had already set-up two sugarcane nurseries and also proposed to set-up three additional nurseries for production of disease-free setts of promising varieties.
Para-4: Page-10: Industries Department: — After a joint survey by the department of agriculture and Cachar Sugar Mills Ltd. The cane area under cultivation during 1975-76 was found to be 6434 hectares with an average yield of 35 tonnes per hectare. As per the plan, the company was to extend the existing areas to 7803 hectares, 9200 hectares 10600 hectares and 11,000 hectares in 1976-77 hectares in 1976-77, 1977-78, 1978-79 and 1979-80 respectively. This year, the company has exceeded the target fixed. Meanwhile, the company was going ahead with a plan of establishing its captive farms of 5000 acres in the ceiling surplus land of nearby tea-gardens in the following phases—
First phase: 3,000 acres
Second phase: 2,000 acres
Agriculture Department: — By intensive and developmental works the department expects to obtain an average yield of sugarcane of about 50 tonnes pr hectare. By increasing the area within 30 Kms radius especially in the agricultural farming corporation at Chargola (about 250 ha.) and in the tea garden surplus land the department progress to meet the full demand of sugarcane for the mill.
Page-4: Para-11: Industries Department: — The operation of first phase will start from January 1977. The above scheme will definitely meet the demand for raw materials by the mills as planned.
Agriculture Department: — Same as Para-10.
Agriculture Department: — No Comment except that the department would be satisfied (i) with 4,000 hectares of cane cultivation in the mill zone area and (ii) if the department got an average yield of 50 tonnes per hectare considering the nature of topography and difficulty in providing irrigation under such photography.
Page-5: Para-13: Industries Department: — No. Comments.
Agriculture Department: — As stated elsewhere it would be too ambitious and the department would be satisfied even with an annual production of 2 lakh tonnes of sugarcane as the mill is capacity to crush would be of that order only.
Page-5: Para-14: Industries Department: — No comments.
Agriculture Department: — No comment. The decision of the government mentioned is most welcome for the development of sugarcane for the mill.
Page-5: Para-15: Industries Department: — Both State Agriculture Department and the cane development staff of Cachar Sugar Mills Ltd. Were working hard to achieve the projected target of five year cane development programme as submitted by Industrial Finance Corporation of India. In addition to what has been stated against Paras 10, 11, 12 steps were being taken by State Agricultural Department to from Agricultural Farming Corporations in suitable areas of ceiling/surplus land of tea estates. Steps were also being taken by the Cachar Mills Ltd. To bind the growers by way of agreement to supply the sugarcane to the mill when the mill goes into production.
Agriculture Department: — Agriculture department would take up intensive extension work on sugarcane and also for supply of healthy seed materials for multiplication of setts. Necessary measures for plant protection cover for the sugarcane crop would also be arranged by the department and the cost may be borne by the mill as a promotional measure. For a steady supply of cane to the mill, every year before the planting season the mill should be able to announce a profitable price for the growers with assurance of purchase. If the mill can arrange to pay advance towards the cost of inputs to the growers, it would be an ideal situation.
Page-6: Para-16. Industries Department: — The Cachar sugar mills has already taken steps to ensure supply of sugarcane to the mill from the growers who have been given incentives under various schemes. The price to be paid per quintal of cane will be definitely more attractive than that of what the growers are now getting for making jaggery. Meanwhile, the State Government has also issued directives to the local authorities banning installation of power crushers and khansari unit in the operational area of Cachar sugar mills to prevent large-scale diversion of sugar cane from the mill.
Agriculture Department: — Production of gur and khandsari was a great competitor and it was an unhealthy competition for sugar mill. This also led to national loss in the form of short recovery of sugar from sugarcane. It was therefore, suggested that if possible production of gur and khansari in the mill zone banned or the sale of sugarcane crushers may be restricted in these areas.
Page-6: Para-17: Industries Department: — No comments.
Agriculture Department: — Assam Agricultural University may be requested to start a research sub-station on sugarcane under Cachar conditions.
Page-6: Para-18: Industries Department: — No comments.
Agriculture Department: — The agriculture department was aware of this technique and was taking up programme on this line.
Page-7: Para-19: Industries Department: — No comments.
Agriculture Department: — No studies on cost of production of sugarcane in Cachar district had been conducted either by this department or by any other research institutes. As such without such studies it was difficult to state definitely the cost of production and benefit therefrom.
Page-7: Para-20: Industries Department: — No comments.
Agriculture Department: — No comments.
The Agricultural department has also forwarded comments submitted by the managing director, Assam Seed Corporation Ltd on the report on sugarcane in the district of Cachar. It appears from the comments that the Seed Corporation has now changed some data earlier collected from the seed farms of the corporation in the Cachar district. The corporation has agreed to the facts stated in paras 22.214.171.124,4.7 and 4.16. According to the corporation, the reason for shrinkage in area was due to keeping the tilla land fallow and not due to actual abandonment of cultivation as stated in para 4.12 of the report. The corporation has now changed the data incorporated in the annexure 6 of the report. As a result, loss during 1970-71 would be Rs 914.36 and not Rs 8.515.77 during 1970-71 and a loss of Rs 298.54 as against profit of Rs 53.00 during 1974-75 as shown in the report (para 4.14). The revised data as submitted by the corporation is attached (Attachment I, Page 14). The corporation has also submitted a revised set of data slightly varying the data of annexure 7 of the report, which is to attachment-1. page 15. The corporation has proposed to examine other data such as distribution of setts expenditure incurred etc. in the Monierkhal seed farm cum-nursery corporation has proposed to examine other datas such as distribution of setts expenditure incurred, to in the Monierkhal seed farm cum-nursery.
RECOMMENDATIONS OBSERVATION OF THE STATE EVALUATION COMMITTEE
(i) Considering the low yield of sugarcane in the Cachar district the agriculture department, the industries department and the authorities of the Cachar Sugar Mills were requested to take extension and motivation programmes for cultivation of improved variety of sugarcane in the command area of the mill, measures for replacement of present varieties of seeds by high quality disease free and disease resistant variety of seeds and adequate plant protection measures. This would help the mill in getting sufficient quantity of sugarcane in the course.
(ii) Production of primary seeds in the seed farms of the Cachar Sugar Mills or Assam Seeds Corporation and secondary seeds in the fields of selected cultivators should be undertaken so that good quality disease free seeds are available in a adequate quantity. The committee recommended that the cultivation of sugarcane in the farms of Cachar Sugar Mills and Assam Seeds Corporation should be undertaken with full package of practices Suitable extension measures should be taken to transmit the results obtained in the farms of the sugar mills and Assam Seeds Corporation.
(iii) The committee considered the desirability of adoption of Sugarcane Act as passed by some State Governments to ensure required supply of sugarcane to the Cachar Sugar Mills. It was felt that at this stage, passing of an act was not required in the State.
(iv) The matter relating to establishment of captive farms for production of sugarcane by Cachar Sugar Mills authority was discussed. It was considered that maintenance of such a farm by Cachar Sugar Mills may be quite expensive. The committee was of the view that these farms should be maintained only to the extent of supplementary the supply of sugarcane made available locally and the second development phase of captive farms should not be undertaken by the mill authority if sufficient sugarcane was available within the command area for feeding the mill. For this purpose, suitable extension work should be arranged. The Mill should also undertake an exercise to find out economics of the maintenance of the captive farms. The subsidies given by the Government the Assam Industrial Development Corporation should also be considered while undertaking this exercise. A copy this may be sent to the secretary to the Government, industries department as well as to director of evaluation and monitoring.
(v) The agriculture department as well as the Cachar Sugar Mill should undertake studies for evolving suitable technology for cultivation of sugarcane in the tilla land. If necessary, help may be obtained from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Indian Sugarcane Research Institute, Lucknow in this regard.
(vi) Cultivation of companion crops along with sugarcane cultivation was also considered. The Agriculture department and the Cachar sugar Mills were requested to undertake research on this subject so that suitable companion crops were identified for cultivation along with cultivation of sugar cane. While identifying companion crops, the departments concerned should keep in view the plant and machinery available within the Cachar Sugar Mills, which can be utilised in the lean season for processing the companion crops.
(vii) The committee discussed the matter relating to creation of irrigation facilities and extensive use of fertiliser for sugar cane cultivation particularly, within the command area of the mill. The sugar cane development officer the Cachar Sugar Mills stated that sugarcane cultivation was possible within the Cachar district in the rain-fed condition and that irrigation facilities were not required. The committee was however, of the opinion that unless high yielding variety of sugar cane was used along with application of fertiliser and improved method of practices, it may not be possible to increase the yield and for this, creation of irrigation facilities may be necessary. The agriculture department and the Cachar Sugar Mill would take necessary steps in this regard, so that yield of sugar cane could be increased per hectare by adopting improved package of practices.
(viii) The Cachar Sugar Mills was to have been commissioned by the end of December 1976. However, due to some difficulties if could not be commissioned last year and it was expected that the mill would start crushing sugar cane by the end of February 1977. As the crushing could not be started in due time Assam Industrial Development Corporation authority started that sufficient quantity of sugar cane available would be sufficient this year for the mill. It may even be possible that some sugar cane produced within the command area cold not be utilised in the sugar Mill. The Committee, therefore, recommended that the Mill authority should extend the crushing period as far as practicable and by all the cane offered for sale to dissuade cultivators from taking up alternative crops. This would help cultivators in getting fare price for sugar cane this year. The excess quantity of sugar cane may be utilised for production of gur as the entire quantity of sugar cane may not be utilised by the sugar mill during the current year. Chief Secretary desired that suitable officer from the sugar mill at Baruabamungaon may be deputed to Cachar Sugar Mill for commissioning of the mill if necessary.
(ix) Through sufficient quantity of sugar cane may be available during the current year within the command area of the mill, the committee felt that there may shortage of sugar cane in the next few years when the mill attained its full crushing capacity of 2 lakh tonnes in a year. The agriculture department and Cachar Sugar Mill were, therefore, requested to take adequate steps for extension of cultivation in the command area of the mill and for improving yield per hectare.
(x) Poor yield of sugar cane in the district and poor growth of sugar cane pointed out to traditional crop husbandry practices being followed in a district. The committee felt that improve method of sugar cane cultivation was necessary and this should be introduced at least in the command area immediately.
(xi) The establishment of sugar cane crushers had been banned in the command area of the mill. As the mill paid a higher price for sugar cane, namely: Rs 10 per quintal as against Rs 7 per quintal being obtained by manufacturing jaggery, the committee was of the view that order banning establishment of sugar cane crushers may be reconsidered. The sugar cane crushers, on the other-hand, would help in utilising excess quantity of sugar cane at least during the current year.
STATEMENT OF CULTIVATION OF SUGARCANE ON MONIERKHAL SEED FARM CUM NURSERY AS RECEIVED FROM BRANCH MANAGER SILCHAR ASSAM SEEDS CORPORATION LIMITED.