Biotech Updates

Sugarcane in Africa

December 13, 2017

The latest addition to the VIB - International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO) Facts Series Sugarcane in Africa reviews the opportunities and challenges for sugarcane production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethanol production does not necessarily require additional cane production, or does not impact sugar production, because ethanol can be produced from sugarcane bagasse, which is an underutilized by-product of sugar factories. Cellulosic ethanol has the potential to nearly double the amount of fuel that can be produced without increasing the area planted with sugarcane and without competing with food security. The development of high sugar and biomass-yielding sugarcane is key for improving the value and sustainability of the sugarcane industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. To unlock sugarcane industry potential, a number of enabling conditions need to be reached vis-à-vis, for instance, environmentally sustainable production, infrastructure, trade policy, research and development, and financial services.

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