July 28, 2002 

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Sugarcane research institute, John Mill Road, Puzhathi Panchayat, Kannur

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Unknown to many, there exists in Kannur, a research institute that is the custodian of a world collection of sugarcane germplasm.  Although the area under sugarcane cultivation in Kerala would be miniscule, the 20-acre institute, situated at John Mill Road, Puzhathi Panchayat, Kannur, has the largest collection of ‘saccharam’ variety in the world.

Since 1969 the institute is working under Indian Council for Agricultural Research.  It has a collection of 3340 varies of sugarcane, of which 1020 are Indian and 585 foreign.  ‘Saccharam’ variety has 764 specimens.

Every year, the institute produces new varieties.  In a sense the lack of sugarcane cultivation in the neighbourhood is a blessing in disguise.  That way, there is less chance of pests infecting the collection.  The foreign clones are accepted after rigorous check to ensure they are pest-free and healthy.

The varieties produced here are exchanged with other research institutes, both in India and outside.

In the idyllic atmosphere of the institute, work goes on without any hullabaloo – almost like the sugarcane spreading its leaves.  There are totally 25 staff in the institute, including Dr. A.N.Premachandran, scientist-in-charge.


Courtesy: T.N.Jayachandran, Karshakashree, June 2001

Contributed by: Administrator


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