In 1992, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry made the decision to create a specialized center for sugar cane research. This is how the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training of Sugar Cane -Cengicaña- was born, which today celebrates 29 years of working to support the technological advance of the Sugar Industry.
Research on sugar addresses many topics which are grouped into five programs: varieties, integrated pest management, agronomy, industrial research, and training and transfer.
Climate change and technology
Cengicaña has developed cane varieties that contain more sugar and are more resistant to diseases. In addition, they are adaptable to the varied environmental conditions of the Guatemalan sugar cane zone. Cengicaña scientists have a National Collection made up of 3,085 varieties of cane, which is used for crosses and studies of the plant.
In the case of the Integrated Pest Management program, Cengicaña scientists combat sugarcane pests with biology, by looking for natural enemies of fungi and bacteria, and even owls and hawks.
Cengicaña scientists rely on technological tools for research on plant fertilization and nutrition, irrigation, precision agriculture, among others. In the area of precision agriculture, satellite images from the European Space Agency and NASA are used to monitor humidity and determine the maturity of the cane for harvest. In addition, in irrigation, the development of the app Cengiriego to optimize the use of irrigation water in sugar cane stands out.
Renewable energy production
The Guatemalan Sugar Industry is a world benchmark for the generation of renewable energy from sugarcane bagasse, a residue of sugar production. Cengicaña’s industrial research program has helped the sugar mills increase their power generation.
This has been a key factor in ensuring that the Sugar Industry generates up to 35% of the Guatemala’s electricity demand. In addition, with the renewable energy produced by the sugar mills, up to 4 million tons of CO2 is prevented from reaching the environment.
On this day we congratulate the scientists of Cengicaña who with their work help to make the Guatemalan Sugar Industry a sustainable sector.