SASRI’s Varieties lead you to profitable production!

SASRI’s sugarcane breeding programme is constantly being refined to cater for the variety requirements of the rainfed and irrigated areas of the South African sugar industry. After extensive testing, screening, selection and evaluation across a range of diverse agroclimatic environments, up to three new sugarcane varieties (N varieties) are produced each year, specifically for the South African industry. This process takes between 10 to 15 years.
As a result of the diverse soils and environments found in South Africa, many of the released varieties are known to be stable and have good ratooning-ability. In particular, many of the irrigated varieties are therefore suitable for growing outside of South Africa.

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Variety Agreements

Many sugarcane producers in SADC and other African countries currently utilise varieties that were bred by SASRI primarily for the more temperate conditions of the South African industry. These have been found to perform particularly well in Africa. Depending on the country and the estate in question, SA varieties constitute anything from 50 to 100% of the varieties grown.
There are currently two types of variety agreements on offer, a variety evaluation agreement and a variety licence agreement.

Variety Evaluation Agreement

Under this agreement, SASRI grants access to a restricted number of varieties for the purpose of evaluation under specific growing conditions. An access fee is charged for each variety requested. SASRI will request an annual report summarising the performance of these varieties and an update of the area planted to each of the varieties being evaluated. SASRI can provide a small quantity of seed material (two to three 3-budded setts) from their quarantine facility. If more material than this is requested, SASRI will provide the contact details of commercial tissue culture facilities in South Africa that are able to supply larger quantities of true-to-type, disease free plants. These suppliers are only permitted to supply plant material once a signed agreement is in place between SASRI and the customer.

Variety Licence Agreement

Once the performance of the SASRI varieties has been demonstrated and the customer wishes to plant one or more SASRI varieties for commercial production, the customer will enter into a variety licence agreement whereby SASRI will charges a levy based on the production figures of supplied varieties.
Variety licence agreements give customers access to a wide range of both newly-released and older more established commercially available varieties. Some SADC countries receive pre-release varieties for evaluation. Should any of these varieties perform well and there is a request for commercial release in those countries, it is important to note that these varieties will still be regarded as SASRI varieties. These varieties will attract the same levy. SASRI will also be entitled to supply these varieties to other countries.

Additional support

As part of the variety evaluation and variety licence agreements, SASRI provides any relevant information and advice on the varieties in question.
Additional specialist information, consultation and advice on sugarcane varieties and production is provided on a consultancy basis and includes assistance with disease and pest identification, soil and leaf sample analyses and fertiliser recommendations.

Variety Exchange Agreements

A third type of agreement exists with countries that have their own breeding programmes. This agreement allows for the exchange of varieties purely for research purposes. These varieties are for used to increase the genetic diversity of the existing breeding germplasm in those countries where they will be used as parents in the existing breeding programmes. SASRI currently has variety exchange agreements with Australia, Brazil, Mauritius, Reunion and USA.

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