PSCPA has been developing practical solutions for their farmers to manage the current reduction in cane prices. When sugar prices drop, one of the first effects for farmers is to cut the application of fertilizers and pesticides, since these are two components which significantly
increase the cost of producing sugar cane.
PSCPA members had the opportunity to attend the International Sugar Congress organized in Havana Cuba last year; at this event, representatives saw some effective low cost technologies being utilized by cane producers. When representatives from the association came back from the congress, they immediately started working on similar initiatives under the leadership of by Mr. Tiburcio Acosta, Zone 2 Manager. Currently, the association, is producing large volumes of bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticide through the use of local residues obtained from agricultural areas. The base materials for producing these environmentally friendly products include animal waste along with household ingredients.
On January 15th 2018, the third anniversary of PSCPA was celebrated. In commemoration of this very important day for the association, Zone 2 farmers decided to do the first trial of bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticide using a boom sprayer. Through mechanical application, it will be possible to significantly cover a larger area of land by individual cane farmers. This first application trial was conducted in 2.5 acres of sugarcane land belonging to farmer Rogelio Blanco (picture above). The effects of the product will be analyzed and compared to commercial products being used and sold by different local organizations. The bio-fertilizer produced by the farmers is expected to be strongly beneficial as it potentially accelerates the growth and formation of more leaves in sugar cane. Another potential benefit is to control the population of frog hoppers; this is being tested using different organic ingredients available in each zone.
The product used for the trial was elaborated in only 35 days. When preparing a 180 liter tank, the production yield for application is approximately 250 liters and 90 liters of slugged product which can subsequently be applied to the soil as a soil enhancer or foliar fertilizer.
With the support of Fairtrade funds, farmers are leading the development of a product which promises to bring several benefits, among them is its low production cost. This opportunity comes at a crucial time when prices for sugarcane are forecasted to be lower. Through these types of initiatives and projects, farmers are being empowered to produce products that are environmentally friendly, locally made and which can help to alleviate their costs of production and income.