High-yielding sugar cane variety under evaluation at Skeldon Estate

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WORK is moving apace to improve production and productivity at the Skeldon Sugar Factory with the testing of a new variety of high yielding sugar cane which has been very successful in India. The new variety of sugar cane has been introduced by Indian scientist Durai Valyapuri, who was recently appointed technical adviser to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO), and is currently under evaluation from a one-acre plot at Skeldon Estate.
Mr. Valyapuri, who is the son of the former Secretary to Mahatma Gandhi, has over 32 years experience with the Indian sugar industry and received an award from the Government of India for development of the high-yielding variety of sugar cane.
In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, he said the growth and development of the canes at the experimental plot is showing encouraging signs and, as such, is confident that they would be successful in Guyana.
According to Valyapuri, 35 tonnes of sugar cane produced per acre in Guyana yields three tonnes of sugar. However, the new high-yielding variety has the capacity to produce 50 tonnes of cane per acre yielding five tones of sugar.
The experimental plot of canes was planted during this month and will mature in August next year when Valyapuri will return to Guyana to carry out his assessment and evaluation.
The Indian scientist is also proposing a project aimed at improving boiler efficiency by separating press mud from bagasse in the conveyer which affects boiler efficiency by 20%.
The former would be used to make a high quality organic fertilisers by mixing it with cow dung and bioincalum. This fertilizer will be useful for sugar cane, rice and other crops.
In addition, he said the World Bank is interested to finance a bagasse-based newsprint and paper fibre use for making paper which lessens the dependence on the cutting of trees to obtain pulp.
However, Mr. Valyapuri is of the strong view that there is a dire need for the upgrading of skills through continuous training of mangers/supervisors within the sugar industry.
This, he opined, would help them to be more au fait with the latest changes in science, technology and modern methods of management which are all essential for the expansion and growth of the industry.