Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Africa

Molasses Production and Utilization in Cameroon

Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Africa

Molasses Production and Utilization in Cameroon

Article excerpt


Sugarcane "Saccharum officinarum" is a plant of the Poaceae family (grasses), grown mainly in the tropics and subtropics (Kapseu et al., 2014). There are several varieties with different characteristics that adapts to different agro-ecological zones and fluctuations in rainfall (Boli, 2007). According to Alfa (2005), these are characterized by their color, robustness, disease resistance, sugar content, etc. In Cameroon, sugar cane is produced by SOSUCAM (Société Sucriere du Cameroun). It was created in 1964 under the initiative of the Cameroonian government and since 2010, 72% of its capital is held by the French group SOMDIAA (Société d'Organisation de Management et de Développement des Industries Alimentaires et Agri-coles). It covers an area of 23,000 ha of sugar cane plantations, and extends for almost 25 kilometers between M'Bandjock and N'Koteng (Boli, 2001).With the exploitation of the varieties Co997 (56%) and B46364 (36%), the two sites produce annually 1.08 million tons (Zelakwa, 2013). Other varieties like B82333 and Fr81258 are in the experimental phase. With an extension of this plant's activities through a refinery in Mandjock, in 2012 a refined sugar production of 130,000 tons was observed. Local demand for sugar is divided between industrial consumers (brewing industries, fermen-tation companies) and households through wholesalers at around 100,000 tons. In addition, some of the production is destined for export to bordering countries like Chad. Cameroon occupies the leading position in sugar production in Central Africa. In addition, sugar byproducts (molasses) are processed to produce a variety of other products (food and pharmacy alcohol). "Sugar Valley" was created in Cameroon after the acquisition of CAMSUCO (Cameroon Sugar Company) by SOSUCAM. The sugar factory can cover the needs of a part of the population in energy by cogeneration. The by-products of sugar manufacturing such as molasses and bagasse are the raw materials of many other industries including alcohols, biofuels, yeast and animal feed.

Molasses is the principal by - product of the sugar industry. The term molasses specifically refers to the final effluent obtained in the separation of sucrose by repeated evaporation, crystallization and centrifugation of juice from sugar cane or sugar beets (Curtin, 1983). In general any liquid feed ingredient that contains sugar in excess of 43% is termed molasses.

Molasses is traditionally used in fermentation technologies to produce ethanol. Fermentation treatment of molasses to produce baker's yeast or proteins is also tightly connected with ethanol production. Molasses produced in Cameroon is mainly used in the production of alcoholic drinks and also used as animal feeds. Molasses is applied in many food or non-food processes because of its high content in nitrogenous compounds, carbohydrates and its sweet taste. The use of molasses in road sector is as (i) dust palliative on the footpaths around sugar factories and (ii) to make molasses-based material for de-icing of roads.


According to the report from a sugar corporation of Cameroon, the current aggregated national sugar production capacity from M'Bandjock and N'Koteng, sugar factories is estimated to be 130,000 tons of sugar per year. The amount of molasses produced from the extraction of sugar (produced at 3 to 4% of the tonnage of crushed canes) is estimated at 5,200 tons. This molasses is mainly used in the fertilization of plantations, in animal feed and in fermentation technologies to produce ethanol.


Molasses is suitable for inclusion in the diets of all ruminant livestock and can offer a very cost effective way to increase the palatability of feeds whilst contributing good levels of energy and protein. Initially the term molasses referred specifically to the final effluent obtained in the preparation of sucrose by repeated evaporation, crystallization and centrifugation of juice from sugarcane and from sugar beets. …

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