About Us

The West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station

The West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station Incorporated, (WICSCBS Inc), is an internationally recognised sugar cane breeding operation.We provide fuzz (true seed) or varieties for our members, tailoring the crosses and varieties offered to meet the specific needs of the members' industries. The WICSCBS Inc. is the latest incarnation of a sugarcane breeding institute that began in 1887, and is the longest continuously operating breeding operation in the world. The WICSCBS is a not-for-profit corporation managed by a Board of Directors appointed by its member industries.

The WICSCBS is one of the two oldest (Java being the other one) sugar cane breeding institutions in the world, with a continuous breeding programme since the rediscovery of seedlings in Barbados in 1888.

  • 1888

    Rediscovery of cane seedlings (Bovell, J.R. and Harrison, J.B.); breeding between noble sugar cane began in Barbados. During that time, the same nobles were cultivated worldwide but under different names, e.g. Black Cheribon and Creole. Nobles were severely affected by diseases and did not ratoon well.

  • 1900

    Breeding led to the development of improved noble sugar cane. Varieties, BH10(12) and BA11569 revolutionised the sugar industries in the Caribbean.

  • 1920

    Hybrids between Saccharum officinarum andS. spontaneum were discovered and also bred in Java. One such hybrid, POJ2728, was the first to be grown successfully in the Caribbean and indeed worldwide. It was used as a parent in hybridization efforts here at the Cane Breeding Station.

  • 1932

    The British West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station (CBS) was established under the direction of the Barbados Department of Agriculture.

  • 1934

    A hybrid sugar cane variety, B34104 (BH10(12) x a hybrid from India) was created and it quickly became the cane of the Caribbean.

  • 1937

    The process of nobilisation (backcross of a hybrid to a noble variety) began at the Cane Breeding Station. This led to the development of B37161, which became a very important variety in the Caribbean, South and Central America. All variety selections for the Caribbean islands were performed here in Barbados.

  • 1962

    The West Indies Sugar Association, an umbrella cooperative organisation of English speaking Caribbean sugar industries later renamed the Sugar Association of the Caribbean Inc. (SAC), took over the responsibility for running the Station and the Station became known as the West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station. The Station recognized that variety selection needed to be performed in each member country, and the fuzz obtained from crosses was distributed to individual countries for evaluation.

  • 1960 - Present

    The Station has provided training to member countries on best practices in sugar cane cultivation (includes a workshop that is every years) and has embarked on several research projects whose results have benefited our industries tremendously.