In the production of sugar, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has implemented new technologies and processes, both in the cultivation of sugar cane and in industrial activities, to reduce its consumption of water.
Guatemala is a country with high vulnerability to the effects of Climate Change and agriculture is one of the sectors most affected by climatic variations. That is why the Sugar Industry has implemented more efficient irrigation systems, which use less water and apply only the amount of the vital liquid that the plant needs.
Likewise, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has invested in systems for the reuse of water in the sugar mills. The water used in the manufacturing process is taken to a cooling system; since it comes out at high temperature, where after being cooled it returns to the factory, through a recirculation system, to be used again.
The Water Footprint of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry
According to a study carried out by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC- the water footprint of the Guatemalan sugar cane crop for the 2019-2020 zafra was estimated at 110.35 m3 of water per ton of sugar cane, where the Irrigation water represented 21% of the total water footprint. Rainwater represented 73% of the total water footprint.
Each ton of sugar cane produced in Guatemala uses 47% less water than the cane produced worldwide, whose results may be related especially to the high sugar cane yields per hectare that the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has achieved.
Of the crops that are most produced worldwide, sugar cane is the one with the smallest water footprint. In addition, the experts of the Guatemalan Sugarcane Research and Training Center -Cengicaña- have developed a mobile application to optimize the use of irrigation water in sugarcane called Cengiriegos, which allows only the water it needs to be applied to the plant.