BAGALKOT: It is not uncommon for elected representatives to visit foreign countries with the objective of expanding their knowledge horizons. However, here is an instance of a different kind of study tour, with sugarcane farmers being sent abroad for study.Bagalkot district has been emerging as the land of sugar, with many sugar factories helping sugarcane growers financially. The Nirani Sugar factory in Mudhol near Bagalkot has adopted a novel practice of sponsoring foreign tours of farmers who supply sugarcane to the factory them. This is the first of its kind practice in the history of sugar factories in the region. Director of the factory, Sangamesh Nirani, said that a decision has been taken to send 100 farmers abroad in two groups every year, and the first batch of 48 farmers have already left for Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. They will study methods of agriculture, irrigation, dairy industry and land ownership among other things, during their 10-day stay, he added. They are all basically ordinary farmers. Officers of the factory Gopal Gangareddy and B B Patil are accompanying them to guide them. The company will bear all the expenses of the tour and the second batch will be sent in two months, informed Nirani. It is now the farmersÃ¢Â€Â™ turn to make the best use of the tour, and to utilise the knowledge and experience gained to strengthen the field of agriculture in the region, he added.