These are simple yet effective management technologies which can be adopted to improve sugar cane productivity. One farmer from the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association adopting an innovative and cost-effective technology is David Akierman. He is using a neat trash lining implement and some good effective microorganisms to turn his post-harvest residue into cash.
According to Akierman, for farmers to become more competitive and sustainable they need to engage in smart cost-benefit activities. He has realized that by managing his trash correctly he can get several cost-saving benefits:
1) When he lines up his trash neatly it acts as a mat (or mulch) which prevents weeds from growing in that area.
2) Using Effective Micro Organisms (EM) helps the trash to break down into nutrients and protects the natural soil conditions as well as the soil moisture in the area therefore resulting in better soil structure for sugar cane growth.
If farmers want to adopt this practice, Akierman advices them to:
- Wait at least 10 days before trash lining the residue; the drier the trash, the easier it is to line-up.
- Add effective microorganisms (produced inhouse or bought locally) to their fields; this will aid in decomposing the organic matter more rapidly and is beneficial to the growth of the plants.
Akierman is currently collecting data from his 300 acres and is sharing this information with the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI), the technical arm of the industry. A number of David’s fellow farmers are now catching up to the benefits of this practice that will not only save them money but is also environmentally responsible.