Colombia 2017 | AGRICULTURE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Luis Fernando Londoño Capurro, President, Sugarcane Growers Association of Colombia (Asocaña), on the sector.

Luis Fernando Londoño Capurro

How can the sugarcane sector contribute to social and economic development?

Most of Colombia's sugar cane is produced in the country's most conflicted regions, including the northern part of the Cauca Department, which is the Cauca River Valley region. The armed conflict was at its height in this area where much of the agro-industry is based. This is one of the main reasons why the peace will bring many benefits not just to the sugar industry, but also to people of the region in general. The growers are based in small towns in rural areas and their communities will benefit enormously from peace.

What are Asocaña's strategies to preserve the water resources of the region?

Our research center has more than 23 engineers with master's degrees who are helping to develop new irrigation systems here. We are working with these experts to develop systems that use less water. In some fields, we use drip irrigation systems that require much less water. Plus, the irrigation tubes can be used to dispense fertilizer and control substances as well. Basically, we are working on two fronts: to maintain and protect the sources of river water we currently have and to learn how to use less water for agro-industrial purposes.