The Zimbabwe Sugarcane Association says it is working on 19 new varieties of cane to be introduced in the next two years and expected to boost sugar output for the country.

Research plays an important part in increasing yield in the agriculture sector and the same applies in the sugar industry where the Zimbabwe Sugarcane Association’s experiment station announced that it is working on new varieties to be released in the next two years. Speaking on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Sugarcane Association Experiment Station annual field day held in Chiredzi, the station’s Director, Dr Audrey Mabveni said currently, there are 10 varieties that farmers have been growing and they are working on introducing more varieties.

“As a research and experiment station, it is our duty to address a number of aspects that involve sugarcane farming. There are currently 10 varieties in the market but due to generic exhaustion soon of those varieties, we are working on 19 new varieties which we are looking forward to release in the next year or two to come. That is expected to increase yield and boost sugar output,” said Dr Mabveni.

Farmers attending the field day underscored the importance of training on pests control in cane farming to increase yield.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue for sugarcane farmers to get a foreign currency component from sugar exports.

“As sugarcane farmers, we have been struggling to buy inputs and herbicides despite the fact that our sugar is being exported and paid for in foreign currency,” Zimbabwe Commercial Sugarcane Association Chairperson, Edmore Hwarare said.

This year’s Zimbabwe Sugarcane Association experiment station annual field day was running under the theme: ‘Tapping Available Knowledge to Improve Sugarcane Production.’