Agric researchers develop new sugarcane variety

Dr Asare (middle) addressing media personnel at the conference.With  him are Prof. Essuman (left) and Prof. Sam-Amoah (right)

Dr Asare (middle) addressing media personnel at the conference.With him are Prof. Essuman (left) and Prof. Sam-Amoah (right)

Researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) have developed a new variety of sugarcane that can boost commercial production  of sugarcane.

Among other objectives, the research, which led to the development of the new variety, was to help in addressing the challenge of inadequate raw material for the effective functioning of the Komenda Sugar Factory which was commissioned in May last year.

Addressing a news conference at the university to announce the discovery, a member of the research team, Dr Aaron Asare, a plant biotechnologist, explained that the project was the university’s contribution to solving the raw material challenge facing the factory and industry in general.

“Through a pilot study with our own resources, we have evidence to proof that rapid multiplication technology exists in Ghana to complement conventional methods for sustainable production of sugarcane for industrial processing,” he said.

He indicated that a research team from the institution analysed juices from the four varieties of sugarcane obtained from the Komenda area, saying, “the results such as sucrose and brix (15-21 per cent) were above the minimum (12 per cent) required for industrial processing.

Dr Asare indicated that the team used a rapid multiplication protocol; a micro propagation tool of biotechnology to establish a pilot plantation of sugarcane in 2017.

On the soil and climatic condition for the cultivation of sugarcane, he said the country had the requisite soil and climate for sugarcane cultivation, explaining that sugarcane was a tropical crop.

“Soil fertility can easily be managed and irrigation is feasible to facilitate sustainable production of the crop,” he said.
Dr Asare further said that, there were existing sugarcane varieties which could be harnessed for commercial production, while research continues to improve the crop with introduction of novel genotype of sugarcane.

Prof. David K. Essuman, Dean of the School of Physical Sciences of UCC, in a statement stressed the need for the government to support research activities in the country, adding that research was necessary in solving development challenges.

The Provost, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences of UCC, Prof. Livingston K. Sam-Amoah, for his part affirmed the commitment of the university to intensify its research activities to develop solutions to issues confronting the nation.

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