UCC Develops Right Variety of Sugarcane for Production of Sugar
A team of researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences has expressed the University’s commitment to partner government to produce the requisite sugarcane for processing at the Komenda Sugar Factory.
The research team led by Dr. Aaron T. Asare of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, through a pilot studies used rapid technology to develop the planting materials to produce a variety of sugarcane with very high level of sucrose and brix (the main products for the production of sugar) at the University’s Experimental Field.
Addressing the press on campus, Dr. Asare said the sucrose and brix levels of the UCC sugarcane of 15-23 per cent was far above the minimum for industrial production adding “the University of Cape Coast has the research expertise to put together a short-medium and long term research plan for execution in collaboration with other stakeholders to enable the Komenda Sugar Factory operate”. He observed that lack of adequate research and planning contributed to the closure of the Komenda Sugar Factory few days after its inauguration in May 2016.
Dr. Asare also noted that the team had come up with innovative irrigation module that could be harnessed to process water from River Pra and the sea to facilitate sustainable production of sugarcane in farms around the Komenda catchment area. He refuted suggestions that Ghana could not produce the right variety of sugarcane by pointing out that “sugarcane is a tropical crop and Ghana is a tropical country and, therefore, we have the requisite soil and climate factors for sugarcane cultivation”.
In line with the government’s one district one factory policy, Dr. Asare said the University needed government’s definite policy and commitment to link research to industry at all levels for sustainable running of the current Komenda Sugar Factory. He therefore made a passionate appeal for “government commitment, financial support and release of land for use”.
Giving the background of the work of the team, the Dean of the School of Physical Sciences, Prof. David K. Essumang, said the University constituted a team of researchers to bring out ideas that would contribute to the effective running of the Komenda Sugar Factory prior to its inauguration in 2016. He said after interacting with the managers of the factory, the team focused their work on developing the requisite varieties of sugarcane for the production of sugar; identifying cost effective irrigation technology and managing soil fertility.
Prof. Essumang said the press conference was aimed at showcasing what the research group of the University has done concerning the Komenda Sugar Factory noting that “It is feasible if we use local research, we can run the factory.”
Present at the press conference were the Provost of the College of Agriculture and Prof. Livingstone K. Sam Amoah, Dean School of Biological Sciences, Prof. Justice K. Sarfo and some lecturers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.