Thursday, January 12, 2017


Colombian Sugarcane Research Center, CENICANA, Cali, Colombia

KEYWORDS: Research Challenges,
Multidisciplinary Research, Sustainability.


AGRONOMICchallenges required for the decades ahead will focus on (1) research and technology transfer based on multidisciplinary approaches; (2) a transition from production-oriented models to consumer-driven systems; and (3) developments that promote sustainability and concerns for environmental issues. A multidisciplinary approach ensures that scientists, growers and factory engineers are aware of the contributions of other disciplines, rather than isolated, individual efforts. This requires not a narrowly focused ‘specialist’, but rather someone with a ‘special’ interest in various disciplines, whose wide vision could make integrated contributions to developing a true Renaissance in sugar industries. The transition to a consumer-driven model requires the identification of new priorities. Technologies for sugar production will remain a priority, but greater emphasis must be directed towards technologies for using sugarcane for energy production and for value-added products. In the case of energy production, the use of sugarcane has beenpossible because of the availability of
proven technologies, interest from investors, governmentregulation and consumer demand. For value-added products, the challenge for scientists lies not just in concrete research outputs, as has been the case for sugar production. Their skills for knowledge management and the vision to transfer their achievements, open new markets and generate interest in funding new research must be strengthened. Sustainability and environmental protection will continue playing a role in future research, both in the field and in factory processes. Climate changeis on the agenda ofchallenges that agronomists and their allied specialists must address in the design and management of future production systems. The prospective use of sugarcane as a source of bioenergy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere offers an opportunity for scientists, investors and consumers to work together on sustainability and environmental protection. Research achievements and projections inthe sugar industry worldwide, reported in the literature as well as by the Colombian sugar industry, are used to illustrate these strategies.


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