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Farmers resort to mechanised sugarcane juice extraction
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 31 2021: Shedding the traditional method of extracting sugarcane juice using cattle to power the grinding machine, the farmers have resorted to an innovative, easy and less time consuming method.

Naorem Borchandra a resident of Kakching Turel Wangma in Kakching district has been growing sugarcane since many years on an acre of land located in 'Marangba Hinggol' which is around 3 kilometres away from his residence.

Speaking to this reporter who visited the farm, N Borchandra stated that the farmers are now using power tillers instead of cattle to power the grinding machine for extracting sugarcane juice.

This way they are able to produce large quantities of juice within a short span of time.

In his farm, Borchandra has a small hut where the sugarcane juice is processed to make Chuhi (boiled sugarcane juice, jaggery), which can be processed further to make unrefined sugar.

And in the open space, he has a 'Kolu' (machine used to extract sugarcane juice) fixed on the ground and an unmanned power tiller is tied to 'Kolu' where the sugarcane stalks are fed.

When the power tiller is put into motion, the Kolu grinds the sugarcane extracting its juice.

Naorem Buddha, son of Borchandra said that they have been into the business of growing sugarcane since many years.

It did not yield much profit in the past so they even stopped growing sugarcane however in recent years they have again started growing sugarcane.

Sugarcane stalks were cheaper in the past but nowadays one stalk of sugarcane cost around Rs 15-20 on an average.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they face difficulty in finding buyers of the full grown sugarcane stalks.

Accordingly they resorted to the technique of extracting sugarcane juice using power tillers.

One litre of fuel lasts around 5-6 hours, he added.

The whole family is involved in this work of growing sugarcane and extracting its juice and at times they have to spend nights at the farm as collective efforts are needed for the completion of the work in time, he continued.

Buddha further stated that it is being estimated that they will be able to produce around 80 bins of chuhi from the sugarcane grown in the field.

One bin contains around 15 litres of chuhi and as of now 50 bins of chuhi have already been produced.

The chuhi bins are mainly transported and sold at Imphal and the remaining are sold at Kakching and Wabagai.

One chuhi bin cost around Rs 750-800 .

Talking about the buyers, he said that chuhis are bought by local women vendors who make Kabok (an indigenous staple food item made from fried or puffed rice), to make jaggery balls, for religious purposes and by local vendors.

He is planning to expand the area to grow sugarcane and is aiming to produce around 200-300 bins of chuhi next year.

Buddha also stressed on the need to improve the economy of the State by using the empty hill slopes to grow sugarcane in order to produce brown and refined white sugar on a large scale.

By doing so the import of sugar from other States can be reduced and will help in making Manipur a self reliant State.

He sought Government's intervention on the same and to take up special measures for the promotion of growing sugarcane.


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