All out efforts should be made to increase the yield of sugarcane crop and to convert the loss making sugar mills into the financially viable sugar complexes so as to increase the income of farmers and generate more employment opportunities in agriculture sector. This will not only make sugarcane cultivation a lucrative profession but also create more employment opportunities in the agriculture sector and will further helps to stop the migration of youth to other countries especially from Punjab and other northern States.These views were expressed by Punjab Cooperation Minister S Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa while addressing the 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Sustainability, Innovation & Diversification in Sugar and allied Industry at Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI), Pune on Friday. Former Union Minister and President, VSI, Pune Mr. Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra PWD Minister Mr. Ashok Chavan, Cooperation Minister Mr. Balasaheb Patil, Excise Minister Sh. Dilip Walse Patil and Director General, VSI Pune Mr. Shivajirao Deshmukh were also present on the occasion.A delegation led by S. Randhawa comprising Chairman Sugarfed S Amrik Singh Aliwal, Registrar Cooperative Societies Mr. Vikas Garg, Sugarfed MD Mr. Puneet Goyal and General Managers of the Cooperative Sugar Mills in Punjab is attending the three days conference starting from today.While addressing the delegates, S. Randhawa specifically hails the efforts made by Mr. Sharad Pawar and Mr. Shivajirao Deshmukh for helping the sugarcane farmers of Maharashtra and adjoining states to adopt the latest sugarcane cultivation and water conservation techniques.He stated that VSI is the only Institute of its kind in the country, which not only assists the sugarcane growers and factories of Maharashtra but also in other States. From empowering cane growers to explore new frontiers of Science & Technology, from moulding public opinion to being a platform for all sections of the sugar industry, no organization other than VSI has done so much for the Industry. As a natural consequence, the Institute stays ahead and keeps abreast of the latest developments in the field of Science & Technology, remains relevant to the evolving needs of the sugar industry and also stays focused to the needs of sugarcane growers.
He further stated that Punjab Government has also nominated Director General and other experts of VSI to the Group of Experts for suggesting revival of Cooperative Sugar Mills in the State. He is happy that VSI and other experts played a vital role in the deliberations of the Group of Experts.He further stated that all over India, Sugarcane Industry and the farmers are facing crisis due to the prevailing market conditions. In this scenario, the coordination between the sugarcane growers and governments of Maharashtra & Punjab can play a major role to draft future planning in sugarcane farming and industry to come over the crisis. The strengthening of sugar industry will ultimately benefit the sugarcane farmers and personally he strongly favours the strengthening of Cooperative Sugar Mills which being a part of the Cooperative movement plays major role in rural economy. As Cooperation Minister of the State which has leading role in the agriculture economy of the country, he has requested Director General VSI and Managing Director, Sugarfed Punjab to arrange interaction of the sugarcane growers and technocrats of Maharashtra and Punjab.S. Randhawa further requested Mr. Pawar and Mr. Deshmukh, Director General of the Institute to assist the Cooperative Sugar Mills in the State of Punjab in increasing the per acre yield of sugarcane and sugar recovery which will ultimately add to the income of the sugarcane growers and sugar factories. The Department of Cooperation, Government of Punjab, is focussing on sugarcane development specifically the seed development programme for which assistance of VSI experts is required and I hope VSI will help the farmers and sugar factories in the State of Punjab in collaboration with Cooperative Sugar Factories in the State.S. Randhawa stressed that the ultimate motive of the Government of Punjab is to increase the per acre yield of sugarcane crop by adopting latest sugarcane cultivation techniques and to make sugar mills a viable option by converting the same in to sugar complexes producing other by-products such as Ethanol, Bio-CNG, Cogeneration , Bio Fertilizers etc. which would not only increase income of farmers but also create more employment opportunities in the agriculture sector.S. Randhawa and Mr. Pawar also inaugurated the Exhibition on the occasion.