Knowledge for Development

Water efficient methods revolutionise sugarcane growing


Date: 07/06/2011


Proof that innovation pays off. In 2007, the India branch of the Worldwide fund for nature (WWF-India) launched the project entitled 'Reducing the Impact of Water-intensive and Polluting Crops: Securing sustainable sources of freshwater to support the livelihoods of poor communities in the Godavari Basin' in India (

Inter Press Services now reports that farmers who have adopted the water efficient measures witnessed water savings to up to 30% of normal water usage. The project is centred on promoting better management practices (BMP), agricultural practices that optimise the three pillars of sustainability – social responsibility, environmental integrity and economic viability. These practices include improvement of planting techniques such as time and method of planting, selection of a suitable variety and appropriate soil, optimum spacing and seed treatment; fertiliser application, type of irrigation and soil drainage and weed control techniques. Sustainable practices are much needed for sugarcane which, according to WWF-India figures, occupies just four per cent of the land in Maharashtra state but consumes nearly two-thirds of the state irrigation supply. (IPS, 10/5/2011).

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