Constant research on soil fertility improvement has a great bearing on yields output in the sugar cane industry and growers must invest more in research to maximise benefits.

This was said by Retired Major Faster Gono during a site visit to his farm in Chiredzi by members of the Zimbabwe Staff College.

Zimbabwe processes an average of 4.7 million tonnes of sugar cane every year and the sugar cane industry employs thousands of people in the lowveld.

The sector has the capacity to further improve yields, if  farmers invest in research on soil improvement and adopt best farming practices.

A sugar cane grower Retired Major Gono who hosted the members of the Zimbabwe Staff College at his farm says the key to ensuring good yields in the sugar cane industry is to employ a more professional approach and invest in improving the soils.

“This season my yields increased so much after i used manure. Each year am improving my yields due to constant research,” he said.

The members of the Staff College were taken through the operations of the sugar cane industry by Mr Farai Msikavanhu.

He also pointed out the challenges affecting the sector highlighting the need for another milling plant to increase competition.

“There is an anomaly in the Zimbabwe sugar cane industry. Tongaat Hulett who also farm sugar cane are the sole owners of a sugar cane plantation in the country and creating more milling plants will make it better for farmers,” says Mr Msikavanhu.

The Commandant of the Zimbabwe Staff College, Brigadier General Josphat Kudumbura said their visit to the sugar cane farm was to ensure that the defence forces appreciate the contribution of the sugar cane industry to the country`s economy.

“We just needed to understand just how exactly the sugar cane industry contributes to the state. National security, also involves issues to do with food security,” he said.

Production in the sugar cane sector is also expected to increase following the completion of the Tokwe Mukosi dam.