Islamabad (May 18, 2017)……Agricultural and Biological Engineering Institute (ABEI) organized a demonstration of a newly developed farm-level sugarcane crusher on May 18, 2017 at ABEI, NARC, Islamabad. The Honourable Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan was the Chief Guest at this event. Senator Zafrullah Khan Dhandla, Chairman PARC, Members of PARC, Director General NARC, CS-II/Director General Agricultural Engineering Division, Directors/Programme Leaders, scientists, agricultural machinery manufacturers and sugarcane growing farmers were present in this demonstration event. More than 100 participants including scientists, farmers, manufacturers and other stakeholders participated in this demonstration event of new sugarcane crusher.
This crusher was designed and developed under RADP Sub-Project titled “Development and adaptation of farm-scale agricultural technologies for sugarcane crushing, maize stover harvesting, maize drying and palm oil extraction”. The machine was tested at farmers’ fields of sugarcane growing areas of Swabi and Peshawar for extracting sugarcane juice with an encouraging performance. The sugarcane crushing capacity of this machine varies between 3-4 tonnes per hour with an average juice recovery of 64 %, which is around 12% more than those of conventional crushers.
Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, Director General, NARC welcomed the participants and highlighted the salient achievements of ABEI. He further added that our engineers are capable and are ready to accept challenges to develop and introduce new agricultural machines in the country. Dr. Tanveer Ahmad, Director ABEI, briefly introduced the success stories of this Institute from its beginning and talked about the financial impact to the country by ABEI developed agricultural machines. Chairman PARC, Dr. Yusuf Zafar, T.I., appreciated the efforts of PARC engineers for developing and introducing new agricultural machines in the country. He further added that new sugarcane crushing technology would revive our gur-making cottage industry that will greatly benefit small farmers to increase their income.
The Federal Minister highly appreciated this initiative of PARC to reduce juice losses in bagasse for farm level sugarcane crushing. He personally witnessed the working of the machine and asked the views of farmers, who also appreciated this machine. The Minister presented honorary shields to concerned engineers for recognising their efforts for developing this machine and with the hope to work with the same zeal and enthusiasm for development of future mechanisation technologies. He also emphasized that this is the technology to reduce sugarcane juice losses and reduce labour requirement at the farm. But, there are many other areas where the engineers should focus on because labour shortage has become a serious issue for Pakistan’s agriculture. For instance, manual harvesting of sugarcane, maize, wheat and rice has become very difficult as labour is not available for farm operations. These areas should be mechanised so that the field operation could be performed successfully. He stressed that a big responsibility lies on engineers to mechanise different farming operations, to make farming a pleasant job and to address labour shortage issue in coming years. He assured engineers to fully support projects relevant to farm machinery development and its import from other countries. In the end, Dr. Nadeem Amjad, CS-II/Director General, Agricultural Engineering Division, PARC thanked the participants to grace the event.
The Minister also witnessed the Ispaghol processing machinery being developed by ABEI with funding from ALP. He appreciated this initiative because this crop was not focussed in the past and we have to import Ispaghol from India. The quality of ABEI processed Ispaghol was better than the ones sold by multi-national companies in Pakistan. The Minister appreciated and liked the indigenously produced Ispaghol and asked scientists to demonstrate this technology to local cottage industry in Hasilpur.