Eswatini Daily News
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ESA awards E142 000 grant to UNESWA student

By Phephile Motau

Collen Bhekuyise Hlanze has received a grant of E142 885 from the Eswatini Sugar Association (ESA) for his master’s degree research at the University of Eswatini.

This is part of an agreement between the two institutions which has seen ESA spend E432 465 to date on three grants for students, which are aimed at research projects on topics speaking to value addition on sugarcane.

ESA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Banele Nyamane during the award presentation at the ESA boardroom on Monday said ESA has had a partnership with the university’s Institute for Research in Traditional Medicine, Medicinal and Indigenous Food Plants since 2020.

The intention is to conduct research specifically focused on the value-addition of sugarcane in the country. Nyamane said the market for direct consumption sugar was declining and it was important that they explore options for value addition to the sugar cane.

“This can be achieved through research, hence we have found it a worthwhile and mutually beneficial investment to commit resources to the tertiary academic space by means of this grant,” he said.

Nyamane said the grant enabled students at UNESWA to undertake and complete research within one academic year by covering their tuition and a monthly stipend.

He said the selection of beneficiaries was made from registered masters students across the science field at UNESWA, with emphasis made on the research topic speaking to value addition on sugarcane as a requirement.

He further announced that the ESA was also awarded a supplementary budget of E23 900 to outgoing beneficiary Crispin Gomes who is currently finishing his research on a biodegradable plastic made from sugarcane.

ESA has to date awarded E265 680 to Gomes and Gcinile Mkoko, who researched a sugarcane beverage. Nyamane added that ESA was currently spending E2 million a year sending sugar to South Africa for quality testing. He said to try and develop the local economy and improve skills, they had partnered with UNESWA in setting up a local laboratory.

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