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Brief and Useful


By P.S. Mathur  and Chatur Behari
Directorate of Sugarcane Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, 1980, pp. 95, price not stated.

VOLUME V NUMBER 3 November/December 1980

There is a common belief that books published by government departments are not worthy of serious evaluation because of the lackadaisical treatment they generally receive from their publi­shers. But exceptions are there and this book under review happens to be one. P.S. Mathur. a former Director in the Directorate of Sugarcane Development, and Chatur Behari, Assistant Editor of the Sugar Crops Journal of the same department, have compiled in the book Growing Sugarcane in Different States in India, briefly, the improved practices for sugarcane cultivation under varying conditions, climatic and others, in different regions in India. The book is intended to provide sugarcane cultiva­tors with information regarding various­ practices that some may be employing and their counterparts in other regions may not even be aware of. India, the most prominent sugarcane producer in the world area-wise and pro­duction-wise, has about twenty-five million farmers involved in growing this crop. The dominant role sugarcane plays is evident from the extent to which rural economies of major cane-growing states are dependent on it. Of the bye-products of sugarcane, a major proportion of bagasse is used as fuel in the sugar mill itself and the rest as raw material for other products like paper. The book gives details in brief about seed material and planting, inter-culture and weeding, manures and fertilisers and irrigation with respect to the needed moisture in the soil. That the authors break up the needed quantities and qualities of all these area-wise besides giving facts about what variety to be planted when, makes the book more valuable for the common farmer depend­ent on sugarcane for livelihood. The basic purpose of the book is de­feated because it is in English and unless translations are made available in Hindi and other languages of the regions where sugarcane is cultivated, it will be of no use, especially for the many lay farmers. The information is basically meant for them and so the Directorate of Sugarcane Development should immediately set about doing this. A job the Publications Division can do without much difficulty. The book has one drawback; most of the descriptions are very brief. Especially regarding aspects like insect pests like Borers, Termites and Pyrilla etc. and their methods of control, both cultural­-mechanical and chemical, more details could have been given for the benefit of the farmer who grows cane. It is noteworthy that the book ...

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