The Sugar Cane Research Center underwent an evaluation by agronomists and researchers from the US, South Africa, Australia and Colombia.
The management carried out by the Research Center of the Sugar Cane of Colombia, Cenicaña, obtained a good rating by international experts who carried out an evaluation to the entity regarding new cane varieties, agronomy and factory processes, as well as to technical cooperation and technology transfer tasks.
The purpose of this evaluation was for sugarcane experts from the United States, Australia, South Africa and Colombia to learn about the processes and investigations carried out by the entity to see in what conditions Cenicaña is, in accordance with world trends in the sugar sector and in comparison with similar centers from other latitudes.
“In general terms, the evaluation was very positive. The main conclusion of the exercise was that Cenicaña knows where she is going and has very well planned strategic objectives ”, assured the entity's general director, Álvaro Amaya Estévez. The evaluation was carried out between October 29 and November 2, 2012, during which time the experts spoke with the Cenicaña researchers and the sugar producers, toured crops and visited mills in the region. They also learned about varieties obtained by the Center for local conditions, new irrigation systems more efficient in the use of water, and energy cogeneration processes.
“The general concept of evaluation is that the Center is well oriented and that is the most gratifying thing; who knows what he is doing, who has a qualified team committed to the sector, ”said Juan José Lülle, President of Incauca and the Cenicaña Board of Directors.
The exercise carried out with international experts also left a series of recommendations regarding procedures in research or management work that will improve the entity's results and achievements, such as taking greater advantage of international alliances, new technologies and systems. of intellectual property.
“Improvement options and possibilities to make corrections happen in all organizations in the world, no matter how good they are. That is why we must take very seriously the recommendations that emerged and the measures that come from there, "said the president of Incauca.
Likewise, the director of Cenicaña added: “The conclusions of the evaluation are a fundamental input to implement actions that complement the research work and the technology transfer actions that are currently being carried out in the sector, in such a way that they contribute to the improvement technology and the productivity of the sugar agro-industry in the region ”.
This is not the first time that Cenicaña has undergone an international evaluation. In 1998 Peter Jennings, William Burnquist, Don Heinz and Nills Berding were invited to review the Variety Program. Suggestions that were received from the experts' visit were received and today are part of the activities carried out by the Center, such as the use of the selection methodology by families for varietal improvement, for example.
"Cenicaña is a pride for Cali and the Valley"
Information letter He spoke with Richard Flavel, Scientific Research Director of the Center for Research in Biotechnology, CERES, USA, who gave us his impressions on the research work, especially on varieties, that is carried out at the Center. Comments for reflection.
What stands out from the research efforts carried out by Cenicaña and what needs to be reinforced?
Cenicaña has a long history of variety improvement work and very important work has been done. However, conventional breeding will not be enough and that is why it must continue to emphasize the use of new methodologies and technologies, which are leading us to characterize specific genes, through the molecular and biotechnological aspects. This is something that is already being done, but it will be more relevant for the future.
Why is it so difficult for farmers to adopt the technology?
Farmers are used to seeing new things that are generating progress and all that comes from genetic improvement. It is unacceptable that this effort that has been made is not used; Furthermore, the cultivation of sugarcane is one more among those that, in the coming years, will generate new products by incorporating new genes.
The need and scarcity that there may be of food and the sources that humanity needs are going to be punctuating these developments. We can progress if we apply what has been done so far; But, of course, we must continue working on actions that respond to what humanity is asking for.
Compared to other research centers in the world, how did you see Cenicaña?
There is no doubt that Cenicaña is a leading institution in the development of technologies for high productivity in the conditions of Colombia and this has generated significant support for the industry.
Cali and the region should be very proud to have a center of this nature, which is doing research for regional development, thinking about the best use of resources, and which is also a source of information and knowledge for other scientists in the world. .
Cenicaña is covering many angles in terms of research. The effort that is being made to find a solution to the technical problems that accompany the cultivation of sugarcane is enormous, but it also has to live permanently with its eyes open. The reality changes day by day and you have to be attentive to the market, which is what says whether the products or projects are suitable for the moment. "
From a genetic improvement point of view I see a very good job; They have adopted technologies that contribute forcefully to the subject, such as family selection. Furthermore, the structure of the breeding program is very good; It is among one of the best in the world and that has impressed me. ”
Cenicaña's work is of great importance and relevance to the industry. I see a solid institution for the sake of research. In the area of agronomy, everything related to geomatics caught my attention, the commercial databases for analysis and georeferencing that I consider are of great importance and support for future work. ”
KEEP IN MIND
The review by international experts highlighted that Cenicaña provides a valuable service to the industry, in training young agronomists and engineers for employment in the sugar sector.