Sugar Sector:  Pakistan’s MY 2010/11 , Sugar production is forecast at 3.77 (MMT). Up 10 % from last year’s estimate of 3.42 MMT, Consumption is forecast at 4.28 MMT and imports at 0.7 MM tons.

A Business Opportunity (Sugar,Sugarcane & Industry)

Sugarcane Sector

  • Sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum L.
    • an old energy source for human beings and, more recently, a replacement of fossil fuel for motor vehicles,
  • First grown in South East Asia and Western India

            Around 327 B.C. 

  • Introduced to Egypt around 647 A.D. and, about one century later, to Spain (755 A.D.).
    • Since then, the cultivation of sugarcane was extended to nearly all tropical and sub-tropical regions.
  • Portuguese and Spaniards took it to the New World early in the 16th century.
  • It was introduced to the United States of America (Louisiana) around 1741.


  • 5th largest sugarcane growing area in the world
  • Sugar producer 15th biggest global
  • Grown One million hectares
  • Raw material for 84 sugar mills
  • The sugar industry is the country’s second largest agro-industry after textiles
    • Besides its edible use
    • Alcohol for medicinal purposes
    • Ethanol for fuel
    • Chip board manufacturing
    • Pres mud for OM


  • Stem cuttings or sections of the stalks called “setts”
    • Each sett contains one or more buds.
    • Normally, one bud is present on each node and they alternate between one side of the stalk to the other
  • The bud sprouts under favorable conditions and gives rise to a primary stalk


  • Stalk is also known as “millable cane”.
    • It develops from the bud of seed-cane.
    • When seed-cane is planted, each bud may form a primary shoot.
  • From this shoot, secondary shoots called “tillers” may form from the underground buds on the primary shoot.
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The Leaf

  • The leaves are usually attached alternately to the nodes
  • The mature sugarcane plant has an average total upper leaf surface of about 0.5 square meter
  • The number of green leaves per stalk is around ten, depending on variety and growing conditions..


  • Also known as arrow Therefore flowering is also known as “arrowing”. The seeds are extremely small and weigh approximately 250 per gram or 113,500 per pound
  • Generally, a day length close to 12.5 hours and night temperatures between 20° to 25°c will induce floral initiation

The Root System – Sett Root 

  • The first roots formed are sett roots, which emerge from a band of root primordia within 24 hours of planting
  • Sett root grow 6-15 days after planting, disappearing by 60-90 days as the shoot root system develops
  • By the age of 3 months, sett roots comprise less than 2% of root dry mass.

The Root System – Shoot Root

  • Shoot roots are second type of root, which emerge from the base of the new shoot 5-7 days after planting .
  • The shoot roots are thicker and fleshier than sett roots and develop in to the main root system of the plant.
  • Develops and takes over supply of water and nutrients to the growing shoot.
  • Typically, approximately 50% of root biomass occurs in the top 20 cm of soil and 85% in the top 60 cm. The percentage of roots in the 0-30 cm horizon was 48-68%

The Root System – Effects of Soil Compaction

  • Reduction in porosity, infiltration rates, and water storage capacity
  • Resistance to root penetration and proliferation. Shallow root system makes the plant susceptible to drought during dry spells.
  • Reduced nutrient and water uptake
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Promotes lodging particularly in unusually wet conditions

Germination and Establishment 

  • Under field conditions germination starts from 7 to 10 days and usually lasts for about 30-35 days.
  • The germination of bud is influenced by the external as well as internal factors.
  • The external factors are the soil moisture, soil temperature and aeration.
  • The internal factors are the bud health, sett moisture, sett reducing sugar content and nutrient status
  • Optimum temperature for sprouting is around 28-30C
  • Warm, moist soil ensures rapid germination.
  • Germination results in an increased respiration and hence good soil aeration are important.
  • Therefore open structured porous soils facilitate better germination.
  • Under field conditions, about 60 per cent germination can be considered safe for raising a satisfactory crop.

Tillering Phase 

  • Tillering starts from around 40 days after planting and may last up to 120 days.
  • Various factors viz., variety, light, temperature, irrigation (soil moisture) and fertilizer practices influence tillering
  • Temperature around 30oc is considered optimum for tillering. Temperature below 20 C retards tillering.
  • Maximum tiller population reaches around 3-4 month after planting. By about 5-6 month, 50-60 per cent of the shoots establish and a stable population is established.
  • Though 6-8 tillers are produced from a bud, ultimately only 1.5 to 2 tillers per bud remains to form canes.
  • Ratoon crop gives much higher and early tillering than a plant crop.
  • Factor for low tillering
    • Spacing & interculture
    • Soil fertility
    • Balance fertilizer,
    • Water availability
    • Weed control
    • Root & shoot borer
    • Termite & rodents
    • Disease Management

Grand Growth Phase

  • Grand growth phase starts from 4 month after planting and lasts up to 9 month in a 12-month crop.
  • Only 40-50% tillers survive by 5 month to form millable cane
  • Under favourable conditions stalks grow rapidly almost 4-5 internodes per month.
  • Moisture & nutrient stress reduces internodal length. A temperature around 30oc with a humidity of around 80% is most conducive for good growth.
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Grand Growth Phase – Threats

  • Efficient use of Water and nutrients
  • Protection from top & Gurdas pur Borers
  • Protection from sucking Insects – like ; pyrella , Whitefly, black bug & Mites

Ripening & Maturation Phase

  • Ripening and maturation lasts for about 3 months starting from 9-12 month
  • As ripening advances, simple sugars (monosaccharide viz., fructose and glucose) are converted into cane sugar (sucrose, a disaccharide)
  • Cane ripening proceeds from bottom to the top
  • Ample sunshine, clear skies cool nights and warm days (i.e., more diurnal variation in temperature) and dry weather are highly conducive for ripening.

Practical Implications

  • Better understanding of what is going on in the plant
  • This understanding aids in efficient water and nutrient management
  • Control of vegetative growth and manipulation of sugar production to some extent is possible
  • Knowledge of phenological growth phases is essential for maximizing cane yields and sugar recovery RizviArticlesbusiness,industry,opportunity,SugarSugarcaneSugar Sector:  Pakistan's MY 2010/11 , Sugar production is forecast at 3.77 (MMT). Up 10 % from last year’s estimate of 3.42 MMT, Consumption is forecast at 4.28 MMT and imports at 0.7 MM tons. Sugarcane Sector Sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum L. an old energy source for human beings and, more recently, a replacement...Pakistan's Only Newspaper on Science and Technology