Ghana has the environment for the mass production of the requisite sugarcane varieties to meet the needs of the Komenda Sugar Factory, a research by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) has revealed.
The research, carried out by the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences of the UCC, proved that rapid multiplication technology existed in Ghana and could be used to complement conventional methods for sustainable production of sugarcane for industrial processing.
Juices from four varieties of sugarcane obtained from the Komenda Field Germplasm at the Sugar Factory were analysed and their results of sucrose yield were higher than the minimum requirements as key indicators for sugar processing.
There have been series of concerns relating to the lack of adequate and right sugar cane for the Komenda Sugar Factory to operate at its maximum capacity since it was commissioned in May last year.
Dr Aaron Asare, the Plant Bio-Technologist and a member of the research team, at a press conference to make their discoveries known, said the initiative was in anticipation to find the solution to getting enough sugar cane to run the factory.
He explained that the University, though not formerly consulted in the establishment of the factory, took the initiative to begin the research to see how best it could develop protocols for generation of planting materials for farmers to cultivate.
He said the research team used a rapid multiplication protocol, a micro-propagation tool for biotechnology, to rapidly develop the planting materials and established the cultures in the laboratory and subsequently established a pilot plantation of sugarcane.
He said the success of their mini project proved enough evidence that complementing research and conventional approaches together with government’s efforts, the country could be in better positioned to produce adequate and sustainable sugar cane to facilitate the running of the factory.
Dr Asare said there were existing sugarcane varieties, most of which had been established at the factory area, which could be immediately harnessed for commercial production while research was done to improve the crop.
He said the challenges of the Komenda Sugar Factory clearly indicated that there were lack of research and adequate planning prior to its establishment.
Dr Asare said there was the need for a definite government policy and commitment to linking research to industry at all levels for the sustainable running of factories such as the Sugar Factory.
He said the UCC had the research experts who were putting together short, medium and long term plans for execution to enable the factory to become viable and sustainable.
However, he said, that warranted government’s commitment, financial support and release of land for use.
“It is our mandate as a university to conduct research, build capacity and provide appropriate responses to education, industrial, social, economic and health needs of Ghanaians as well as maintain local and international collaborations to mitigate emerging global challenges,” Dr Asare said.