GIS - 05 October 2015: The final workshop of the ACP Sugar Research Programme (ACP-SRP) to take stock of the results of the 13 research and innovative projects undertaken by research centres and partners collaborating in the Programme, kicked off this morning at the Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute (MSIRI), Réduit.
The two-day workshop aims at enhancing the capability of the sugar cane industries in ACP countries to make the transition to a more open and less protected sugar market. A key objective is to reinforce the capability and competitiveness of the sugar industries of the ACP countries and, in addition, develop networking amongst ACP sugar cane research institutes.
The reviewing and discussion of the 13 projects addressing challenges in genetics and molecular biology with the production of superior sugar cane varieties, reduction in cost of production of cane and sugar and any possible negative impact on the environment, increase in efficiency of milling and valorisation of sugar cane co-products is also scheduled.
The European Union (EU) has financed this programme to the tune of 13 million Euros and the implementation phase started in 2010 and the research activities are conducted at five centres of excellence. The MSIRI is one among the five centres and it was awarded eight research projects out of total of thirteen under the ACP-SRP for a total amount of € 5,848,353 (app. 230 million rupees) over four years.
In his address at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, stated that EU’s support is particularly important now given the recent political agreement in 2013 to end the EU sugar quotas in 2017, which will have a strong impact on the sugar sector in ACP countries and the ability of their sugarcane producers to ensure a sustainable living.
Increasing the competitiveness of the sugar sector will therefore allow ACP sugarcane producers to compensate for the loss of income that will result from the end of the EU sugar quota regime, he added.
Re-engineering the industry is a necessity as it will help the industry to be competitive, viable and sustainable in the long term, said the Minister. He recalled that the ACP-SRP’s main strategic aims are the reinforcement of the competitiveness of the cane sugar commodity chains and research centres capacity, the development of a dedicated exchange network, information dissemination, and technology transfer.
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