Aslam Memon, A. M. Khushk* and Umer Farooq**
Sugarcane is an important crop of Pakistan in various ways. The present study aimed to indirectly investigate into the potential of saving land and water resources by re-allocating sugarcane area to relatively more productive recommended sugarcane varieties. Secondly, this exercise shall also provide feedback to researchers in sugarcane crop as well as sugar mills for assessing the types of varieties performing better, relative to others. The study document the extent of adoption of recommended sugarcane varieties in Pakistan. The study was based on the primary data collected through a formal survey of sugarcane growers in the different agro-ecological conditions in three provinces of Pakistan during 2007-08. The major study findings showed that nearly one-fifth of total farm area was allocated to sugarcane crop by sample farmers with more than 70% and 76% of total sugarcane areas were devoted to recommended varieties during 2006-07 and 2007-08, respectively. More than 25 sugarcane varieties were cultivated by sample farmers in Pakistan. Majority of the farmers planted only one variety. Among recommended varieties, Thatta-10 and CP-77-400 were relatively the most commonly planted. Thatta-10 in Sindh, HSF-240 in Punjab and CP-77-400 in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province (KP) captured significantly large area than other varieties. Based on varietal adoption indicators, although improvements were registered for most of the indicators, however, their magnitude was quite small indicating slowness of varietal diffusion. Very high variations in varietal diffusion indicators were also observed across provinces, farm size and tenancy status categories.In conclusion, despite that major proportion of total sugarcane area was planted under recommended varieties, the varietal diffusion process among sugarcane growers all over the country was taking place on informal grounds and was extremely slow. Therefore, strong institutional efforts from agricultural extension department as well as sugar mills are needed to rapidly diffuse the more recently released varieties among the farmers. The sugarcane growers in KP are suggested to increase varietal diversity on their farms to avoid any risk of complete crop failure due to any reason. Sugar mills in all three provinces are suggested to take serious note of status of adoption of different sugarcane varieties through a collective action in their respective provinces. Activities like planting demonstration plots of promising varieties on farmers’ fields, launching special sugarcane varietal promotion campaigns for spreading desirable varieties during planting seasons and active involvement of provincial departments of agricultural extension in their efforts of varietal promotion are some suggestions put forward for encouraging cultivation of newly released recommended sugarcane varieties in the area.