NEW DELHI: Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today said sugarcane farmers should be encouraged to adopt intercropping to boost their income.
Intercropping is the cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field.
Addressing a seminar on 'Hundred Year of Sugarcane Varieties', Singh said the government has set a target of doubling farmers' income by 2022 and is taking various steps to achieve this objective.
He complemented scientists as well as farmers for a sharp increase in the country's sugarcane and sugar production over decades.
Singh noted that sugar production has risen more sharply compared to sugarcane over the last 8-9 decades due to higher recovery of sweetener from cane juice.
In sugar recovery, he said, India is ahead of China and is at par with Brazil, the world's largest sugar producer, if not better.
To boost income of cane farmers, Singh stressed that farmers should go for intercropping and grow pulses, oilseeds or potatoes along with sugarcane.
Sugar production of India is estimated to decline at 21 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (October-September) from 25 million tonnes in the previous year.
The minister said the focus should be raising farmers income as well as meeting challenges emerging from climate change and pest attack.
Singh said the government has taken various initiatives to double farmers' incomes by 2022 and these include revamped crop insurance scheme, soil health card and linking over 500 wholesale markets on electronic platform.