What do you understand by sustainable sugar Initiative (SSI)? Discuss its main principles and methods?
Model Answer: SSI was jointly launched by ICRISAT and WWF to reduce and optimize the use of water and other inputs in sugarcane production. It is a system of various practices and principles including
- using single budded sets from healthy mother cane instead of 2/3 budded sets for raising nursery, to get higher percentage of germination.
- Transplantation of 25-30 days young saplings to main fields
- Maintaining wide space keeping optimal distance between two rows to support easy air and sunlight penetration.
- Water management using furrow or drop irrigation instead of inundation of water.
- Low use of chemical fertilizers’ and higher use of organic methods
- Intercropping for optimum utilization of land.
The optimal utilization of water becomes a major issue in those areas where irrigated crops and dry land farming are mixed. For example cultivation of irrigated crops such as rice/ sugarcane and dry land crops such as sorghum/millet on same watershed would result in a challenge to use the water optimally for both; because while former are water guzzling crops; too much water to the later is waste of this scarce resource. Any water reduction to thirsty crops such as sugarcane will have a positive impact on the dry land agriculture in the same region. This is the basic philosophy behind the Sustainable Sugar Initiative (SSI). (220 words)
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