A team of researchers of the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences of the University of Cape Coast has developed rapid yielding sugarcane types to support the development of raw materials to adequately feed the Komenda Sugar Factory.
After several months of research, the team of researchers has developed "assertions" (used until varieties are fully accepted) of sugarcane which are high yielding and disease resistant.
They are now appealing for land and financial support from the government and interested stakeholders to develop nurseries of sugarcane for supply to farmers in and around the factory's catchment area.
Komenda Sugar factory
Addressing a press conference last Friday on the progress made so far, one of the lead researchers, Dr Aaron Asare said work started in 2016 using a biotechnology called rapid multiplication protocol to develop sugarcane to be planted to feed the factory.
Dr Asare appealed to the government to bring the Komenda Sugar Factory under the one-district-one-factory initiative and give it the necessary support to make it work.
"We refute any kind of argument that it is impossible for Ghana to produce sugarcane for the running of the Komenda Sugar Factory," Dr Asare said.
He said Ghana was a tropical country and that sugarcane was a tropical crop, adding that “considering soil and climate, we have the requisite environment for the production of sugarcane.”
Dr Asare explained that the researchers collected samples from sugarcane from the factory’s nurseries for analysis which indicated that the sugarcane had sucrose far above the minimum required for commercial sugar production.
He said the UCC, having realised the construction of the factory, took the initiative to begin research and develop protocol for planting materials for farmers to cultivate and help feed the factory.
"We used what we call rapid multiplication protocol, a micro propagation tool of biotechnology, to rapidly develop the planting materials. We went ahead to establish a pilot mini- plantation to link research to industry,” he explained.
Linkage between industry and research
Dr Asare said there was the need to link industry and research and called for government’s commitment in the form of funding and release of land for the development of seedlings.
He added that the success of the project had proved that complementing research and conventional approach and with government's efforts, “we could be in a position to produce adequate and sustainable sugarcane to facilitate production at the Komenda Sugar factory.”
The Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Prof. Livingston Amoah, said Ghana had the soil and climate to develop the seedling to feed the factory.
The Dean of the School of Physical Sciences, Prof. David Essuman, said the team was also working on the development of appropriate irrigation systems for farmers.
Source: Daily Graphic
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