Sugarcane is high valued cash crop in Pakistan and plays a significant role in socioeconomic development (Aslam et al., 2011). It is an important source of income and employment for the farming community.

By Dr. Syed Zia Ul Hussnain, Muhammad Umair Farooq, Zeeshan Akram, Atique U Rehman

Sugar industry has achieved the significant importance in the country economy. Sugarcane provides sugar, besides bio fuel, fiber, organic fertilizer, chipboard, paper and many other products with ecological sustainability. Its production accounts for 3.40 percent in agriculture’s value addition and 0.7 percent of GDP. During 2020-21, the crop was cultivated on 1,165 thousand hectares, an increase of 12.0 percent compared to last year’s sown area of 1,040 thousand hectares. Production increased by 22.0 percent to 81.009 million tons against 66.380 million last year (Anonymous 2021). Cane yield of Pakistan falls lowest in the world and the sugar recovery does not meet the economic goals of the local sugar industry (Qureshi and Afghan, 2005). Farmers require new varieties with higher productivity and good ratooning ability (Bahadur et al., 2012). It is evident that low cane and sugar yields and poor ratoonability are due to the lack of a local breeding program and lack of new varieties. (Afghan and Husnain, 2000).

The overall increase in sugarcane production has been attained mainly through research and extension work (Hogarth and Allsopp, 2000). Varieties have contributed to increased yield potential, although it differs from region to region, and most regions have benefited by converting to advanced and improved varieties (Walker and Simmonds, 1981). Today in the sugarcane world, 30 countries have recognized variety development programs. Most major cane growing countries have significant R & D efforts, and some have been doing that for many years using sugar industry funding (Singh et al., 2009). As a major industry, Pakistan needs to be invested sufficient amount of money in Research & Development to increase production and economic return (Egan, 1995). In Pakistan, Development of new cane varieties are fully dependent on import of cane fuzz (true seed) from USA, Australia, Brazil, Barbados, South Africa, Mauritius and Sri Lanka (Nadeem et al., 2011).

Through variety development, significant improvements have been attained in cane and sugar yield (More et al., 2008) and disease resistance (Heinz, 1987). Factors like genotype by environment interaction (Joshiya et al., 2009), interplant competition (Abro and Baloch, 2011); number of characters selected, economic features of selection, and standard varieties affect the efficacy of selection (Hogarth and Skinner, 1967; Giamalva et al., 1967).

The main objective of the institutes working on sugarcane in Pakistan is to develop new cane varieties capable of producing sugar and other bi-products for economic importance at a low price than that attained from current commercial varieties.

During past decades, growing of unapproved varieties had limited the average sugar cane yield and sugar recovery but recently approved inherited potential varieties had performed very well in Pakistan.

Fatima Sugar Research and Development Center (FSRDC), Fatima Sugar Mills Limited is only Sugarcane Research Centre in South Punjab, working from last ten years with collaboration of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) for the evaluation of new sugarcane varieties suitable for all agro-ecological conditions of south Punjab especially District Muzaffargarh. However, a number of commercial varieties are being grown in this locality. Their resistant against the insect pest, diseases and environmental factors are not tolerable. The objective of this varietal improvement program at FSRDC is to evaluate the best promising sugarcane lines with higher potential of cane yield and sugar production as well.

Seven sugarcane lines were donated by PARC, Islamabad to Fatima Sugar Research and Development Centre (FSRDC), Fatima Sugar Mills Limited in 2015 including YT-236 (parental clones of YN 73-204 X CP72-1210).

After evaluation at FSRDC farm, YTFG-236 as worth for introduction was studied to check the performance regarding yield and recovery percentage in district Muzaffargarh during 2015-2021.

On the basis of research trails, Performance of the promising line YTFG-236 revealed the higher average cane yield (1621 mounds/acre) and sugar recovery (13.73 %) than the standard check varieties (CPF-250 and CP-77/400) by using the following NPK fertilizers ratios @  N:107,  P2O5: 45 & K2O:50 (05 bags Sarsabz NP , 04 bags Sarsabz CAN and 02 bags SOP). Research data showed that the variety YTFG-236 is a good ratooner having resistant to insect- pest (both chewing and sucking) and major diseases (red rot, smut, pokha boing and rust).

 Furthermore, this newly elite line is being widely adopted at grower’s fields on about 4,000 acres in Punjab due to excellent tillering capacity, high yield per acre and good ratoon capability.

                                                        Sugarcane fuzz nursery in control shed



Sugarcane variety YTFG-236 at Langar Khan           Sugarcane variety YTFG-236 at Fatima sugar Research

Farms, 18- Hazari, Jhang                                                                      and Development Farm, FSML


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Authors: Dr. Syed Zia Ul Hussnain, Muhammad Umair Farooq, Zeeshan Akram, Atique U Rehman

Fatima Sugar Research and Development Centre

Fatima Sugar Mills Limited, Fazal Garh, Sanawan, Kot Addu, Muzaffargarh, Punjab, Pakistan