Sugar production: Zimbabwe’s new cane varieties to boost output

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Zimbabwe is anticipating an increased production of sugar following the discovery of 19 new cane varieties.

Test have proven the new varieties to produce better yields than the current types that are outdated and providing reduced yields due to generic exhaustion.

It is expected that the new sugarcane varieties will be ready for planting in the next two seasons.

However, they will be introduced to farmers and stakeholders at the Lowveld Agricultural Show later this year in the south-eastern district of Chiredzi.

Cane sugar giant producers Tongaat Hulett have their southern Africa’s largest operations in Zimbabwe, especially in Hippo Valley and Triangle, Chiredzi district.

Dr. Leo Thokoza Mpofu, who specialises in plant breeding at the Zimbabwe Sugarcane Association (ZSA), confirmed the plans.

He said the association is exploring solutions to finance tissue lab technology, which would culminate in a speedy propagation of the varieties.

Mpofu disclosed the latest sugar cane types would have been available immediately had it not been for financial constraints to speed the technology.

Currently, most farmers in Zimbabwe are rotating sugarcane varieties that were released between 1960 and 2004.

Despite outdated varieties, Zimbabwe’s sugar output is expected to reach 500 000 metric tonnes this year, surpassing last year’s 460 000 tonnes.

Adama.L