Knowledge for Development


The ACP Group of States need to adjust the approach to agricultural production, marketing and distribution to be able to compete in national, regional and international markets. Traditional commodities such as sugar are no longer assured of guaranteed prices and ready access to international markets. How then should the ACP region respond? Commodities, traditionally considered as food security crops are now being looked at in a different light. Can scientists assist the countries in making informed decisions to improve efficiency, cost effectiveness, quality and competitiveness?

The EU Sugar Reform has negative consequences for the sugar industries in Sugar Protocol (SP) countries as their export revenues will decline sharply. In order to adapt to new market realities the EU is offering the SP countries a significant development assistance package (€ 1.2 billion) to restructure their industries as well as various other forms of assistance. One of them is a five-year ACP sugar research programme to be funded by the European Development Fund. This programme aims to improve the overall competitiveness of the sugar industry in ACP countries (and in particular in the SP countries among them) in order to survive in a less-protected global sugar market. At the same time, the Everything-But-Arms (EBA) agreement has created new opportunities for sugar-producing EBA countries to export to the EU sugar market. (This article was published in Development Economics between Markets and Institutions: Incentives for growth, food security and sustainable use of the environment, edited by Erwin Bulte and Ruerd Ruben. Wageningen:Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2007). 10/01/2008
Proof that innovation pays off. In 2007, the India branch of the Worldwide fund for nature (WWF-India) launched the project entitled 'Reducing the Impact of Water-intensive and Polluting Crops: Securing sustainable sources of freshwater to support the livelihoods of poor communities in the Godavari Basin' in India ( Inter Press Services now reports that farmers who have adopted the water efficient measures witnessed water savings to up to 30% of normal water usage. The project is centred on promoting better management practices (BMP), agricultural practices that optimise the three pillars of sustainability – social responsibility, environmental integrity and economic viability. These practices include improvement of planting techniques such as time and method of planting, selection of a suitable variety and appropriate soil, optimum spacing and seed treatment; fertiliser application, type of irrigation and soil drainage and weed control techniques. Sustainable practices are much needed for sugarcane which, according to WWF-India figures, occupies just four per cent of the land in Maharashtra state but consumes nearly two-thirds of the state irrigation supply. (IPS, 10/5/2011). 07/06/2011
The gradual and difficult transformation of a sugar cane monoculture farm to an integrated and diversified farming system is described, using the case of a small family farm in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental. In 1984 the Oray family decided to change their farming practices to achieve food security for the family, to improve control of the entire production process, and to make optimal use of the natural resources available to them by nutrient cycling. The transformation involved conversion of intensively farmed sugar cane land to rice, land levelling to improve water management, direct marketing to neighbours to avoid middlemen, planting maize and vegetables for home consumption, keeping a few livestock such as a sow, some piglets, and chickens, raising a water buffalo for animal traction, extension of the farm from an initial 1.3 ha to 3.5 ha, the introduction of crop rotations based on leguminous crops such as groundnut, soybean, mung bean, and cowpea, farm forestry, the adoption of biological pest management strategies to control snail damage in rice by planting taro and dispersing rice hulls, using cassava as a catch crop to keep rats away from rice seedlings. These and other changes have made it possible for the family to meet their needs and have made life less risky than it used to be.  28/06/2006
The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) has been working on "molasses desugarization" to increase sugar recovery in the factory. A new process was developed jointly by Applexion and HC&S called the NAP (New Applexion Process) in which ultrafiltration and softening of clarified juice are incorporated between the clarifier and the evaporator stations. The new system was installed and has been in operation for a full season at the Puunene mill in Hawaii. The new system is described, and the operation and results are presented. A brief review of the potential applications to refining, molasses desugarization, invert sugar purification and alcohol reduction is presented. Author's summary. In Proceedings-South-African-Sugar-Technologists'-Association, no. 70, p. 166-170 05/04/2006

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