The sweet passing of time around the reed

In this message to the readers of the Information Letter, I want to start by highlighting the vision and decision of pioneers of the Colombian sugarcane agribusiness to create Cenicaña, in order to face competitiveness with other sugar industries, guarantee the sustainability of the sector and contribute to the socioeconomic development of the region. Technological developments and the benefits obtained indicate the value of such a decision. The recent publication of Fedesarrollo "Study on the socioeconomic impact of the cane agro-industrial sector in Colombia" (Fedesarrollo, May 2019), highlights the evidence in this regard.

The work carried out by Cenicaña, with the support of mills and growers, through the development of more productive varieties; the agronomy required to improve the sugarcane production and harvesting system; the developments and improvements in industrial processes for the production of sugar and ethanol; and the transfer of results and training underpin the achievements that the cane agribusiness has for its sustainability and competitiveness. We can say then that no other sugar industry in the world has obtained the results that the Colombian sugar agribusiness has achieved today. These results have positioned national and international developments in the sector to open doors to collaborative initiatives and access to financing resources. The task continues and there are still challenges to improve, in which the responsibility and commitment is not only of Cenicaña, but of the agro-industry as a whole. The important thing is to know where we are going.

Like all investments, to make it effective, it requires the availability of conventional factors of production such as capital, land, infrastructure, and trained and committed human resources with the challenges demanded by their investors.

Cenicaña's great capital is its people: its researchers and all the staff that supports them. It is the value of everyone's knowledge and vision to generate added value for those who invest in technological development. Based on this, projects are structured that respond to the urgent, the medium and long term. Despite the fact that in science it is not possible to have immediate solutions for everything, what is trusted are the solutions based on research and validation, which generates strong, solid and impactful results, as long as they are implemented based on the results derived from the investigation.

This is the return on investment that mills and cultivators have made for more than four decades. Undoubtedly, to support research, define priorities and accompany Cenicaña's developments, economic support and the participation of agro-industry are essential. So are the monitoring of the results and the evolution of its indicators, as well as the assessment and motivation of the human team, owner of that great capital that is knowledge. The investment made in people generates returns and makes the permanence of that great capital of the Center attractive.

In 42 years of history, knowledge at the service of the technological needs of agribusiness has had the contribution of many people; some are gone and others continue with responsibility and commitment to the challenges of tomorrow.

I had the honor of being part of that human group and contributing with my knowledge and management to the current achievements of agribusiness and the construction of the bases for future technological development. Of course, I had the support and commitment of the Cenicaña team, I learned from the people with whom I had the opportunity to interact with the mills, the growers and the entities in the sector.

I was linked to Cenicaña until June 30, 2019. Dr. Fredy Fernando Garcés, current director of the Variety Program has been appointed as the new Director of the Center as of July 1, 2019. Dr. Garcés has the capacity, responsibility and interest to strengthen what has been done and implement with its initiatives and the support of the sector what is relevant to continue making Cenicaña great for the benefit of the donors of the Center. Under the leadership of Dr. Garcés, there remains a solid team of researchers and Center staff committed to the projection of Cenicaña.

I thank all the people in the sugarcane agribusiness: shareholders, managers and presidents of sugar mills, field and factory engineers, growers, Asocaña, Procaña, Azucari and Tecnicaña for their support of my management. The results are known to you. They were 37 years linked to Cenicaña, initially as a researcher in the Variety Program, then as Director of the same Program and finally as Director General of the Center for 19 years. I am proud of the trust placed in me and of having had the opportunity to exercise most of my professional life in this sector.

Thank you for your trust and support. To all the Cenicaña human team, to those who were and to whom today continue with the challenges to come, my gratitude for their commitment and support to my management.

The experiences, the people and what I could know and learn from everyone will surely last. All those years passed around the cane and what one loves will not be able to get out of his mind or heart. The cane and friendship of all of you I will always carry. The sweet passing of time should continue around the reed.

Successes and health. May God be with you and strengthen you always.

Álvaro Amaya Estevez
Former CEO, Cenicaña

Nunez, J. et al. (2019). Study on the socioeconomic impact of the cane agro-industrial sector in Colombia. Bogotá: Fedesarrollo. Fedesarrollo Notebooks, No. 70.

Information Letter | JUL 2019: 2
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