UNION MINISTER of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Dr Akhilesh Prasad Singh said that the government was likely to grant functional autonomy to the National Sugar Institute (NSI) in the near future.
Delivering his address on the 46th convocation of NSI here on Friday Dr Singh said that the NSI director had sent a proposal to the government demanding functional autonomy to the institute, better pay-scale to the teachers and raising the age of retirement. He said, experts were considering the proposal and a decision in the matter would be taken soon.
The minister, however, expressed his concern over decrease in farm productivity and sugar recovery during the past seven decades despite considerable development in the field of agriculture. He said that the north belt had shown tremendous decline in the sugar production as compared to other states.
He advised sugar technologists to adopt genetic technology for overall benefits with proper planning and knowledge. He said the need was to give serious thought to raising sugar production by applying viable technologies.
He advised caution in applying optimum doses of fertilizers and chemicals in the cane production to avoid the problem of chemicals creeping into the products.
The sugar technologists should take technical assistance from the Agrochemical promotion Group (APG) for fixing the quantity of fertilizers to be applied in the fields.
He further said that the sugar industry would have to improve the quality of the sugar and sugarcane based products like jaggery, potable cane juice and khandsari to compete in the global market. Besides, sugar institutes should reorient research programmes towards the development of nutritive organic products which were in great demand in the global market. The minister said that in order to meet the demands of the global market efforts should be made to improve the quality of sugarcane by developing its new varieties suitable for alcohol production and other value added products from the co-products of the sugar industry.
Later, the minister gave away degrees, diplomas and certificates to about 400 students of the institute who completed the courses.