THERE is an increasing pressure for the sugar industry to engage in green cane harvesting.

The current trend is such that the cane is burnt before harvesting. Swaziland Sugar Association (SSA) Service Level Agreement Manager Jabulani Sifundza will be presenting a paper on green cane harvesting during a sugar conference next Thursday. He explained that the cane was burnt for the purpose of easy handling.

The conference will be held at the Happy Valley Resorts under the theme ‘Sustainability of the Swazi sugar industry and required strategies. Sifundza will deliberate on the implications for the Swazi sugar industry in changing the current practice, which is burning the cane ahead of harvesting.

“Even though this practice made it easy to handle the cane, it had environmental implications and there is increasing pressure for us to move to green cane harvesting,” Sifundza said. The manager said this would also benefit the soil as when the cane was burnt the trash was also burnt. “Burning the cane means that even the trash is also burnt. If not burnt, the trash will decompose and fertilise the soil.”

Sifundza explained that the sugar industry, however, has not taken a stand on the adoption of the new practice and said the conference would assist in understanding the implications of green harvesting.

The conference will also look at the sustainability of the smallholder sugarcane growing sector. It will also deliberate on better management practices and sustainable management systems in the sugar sector, specifically looking at implications for smallholder sugar cane growers. Also, the conference will draw from experiences of both the Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) and Ubombo Sugar Mills in diversification and carbon credits. The meeting will start at 7am.

source: observer.org

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