Sugarcane is an important cash crop of Pakistan. it is mainly grown for sugar and jaggary production. It is an important source of income and employment for the farming community. It also forms basis for many important industries like sugar, beverages, chipboard, paper, confectionary etc. and provides raw materials to mainly other industries such as chemicals, plastics, paints, synthetics, fibre, insecticides, detergents, etc.
Sugarcane production in Pakistan has increased over time, however this increase has mainly resulted from an expansion in area, whereas yields have increased only slightly. Area, production and yield over the period of 1947-88 grew at an average annual rate of 3.79%, 4.53 and 0.74 per cent respectively (5). in 1988-89, the area under sugar cane was 877 thousand hectares which increased to 885 thousand hectares in 1992-93 and sugarcane production increased from 36976 thousand tons in 1988-89 to 38059 thousand tons in 1992-93. Thus during the same period cane yield increased from 42.2 tons to 43.0 tons per hectare (1) It shows that despite expansion in production over the years, increase in the productivity per unit of area has been very low in Pakistan.
The average sugarcane yields in Pakistan have remained between 4045 tons per hectare, which are considerably less than those obtained in many other countries. Average yield of sugarcane in the world is around 60 metric tons per hectare, while India and Egypt are obtaining 65 tons and 103 tons per hectare respectively, (2) Thus Egypt with highest cane yield in the world is getting about 140 per cent higher yield than Pakistan. India with almost similar soil and climatic conditions is obtaining about 51 per cent higher cane yield than Pakistan.
Within Pakistan, even there exists a large yield gap between yield obtained by the progressive farmers and that of national average. Moreover, much higher production potential has been exhibited at the research stations.
It has been observed that conventional planting methods and low plant population were responsible for low yields (4).
Most recently some new patterns of planting sugarcane have been developed at research stations which not only facilitate doing some essential …