Sugarcane is classified as a hybrid of tall perennial grasses, belonging to the genus Saccharum, it is used in the production of sugar and it is the undisputed protagonist of a worldwide large economy.
Sugar is one of the most consumed ingredients in the world, in the form of many delicacies people prepare. It's easy to understand the importance of sugarcane production.
Cultivation of sugarcane has been practiced since time millennia for home consumption and up scaling at commercial level. The most renowned nations for sugarcane production are Brazil, producing 39% of the world total, South Africa, India, Cuba and Colombia, while originates in South East Asia, from where it gradually spread in the whole globe when trading started intensifying since the 8th century up to present day.
Sugarcane requires a plentiful supply of water, so there’s need of an irrigation system to complement rainfall, but also needs plentiful sunshine. It is adaptable to different kind of soils but the ideal one would be a well-drained and fertile soil.
Sugar is tasty to animals as well
I bet most would agree, cake tastes better with sugar. This also applies to sweeteners used in livestock feeds. Molasses is used in feed formulation rations, as it enhances palatability. Liquid syrup and dry molasses are commercially available. The sweet aroma stimulates high feed consumption often associated with growth of rumen microbes and increased water intake in cattle, sheep and goats. Also refuse from sugarcane processing is high in fiber and can be incorporated in livestock feed.
Management of sugarcane plantations for positive impacts on livelihoods
- Even if the demand for freshly harvested sugarcane has increased over the years, upon ripening some farmers tend to burn off the excessive leaves. The trend for burning is said to amass sweetness in sugarcane prior to harvesting. In a scenario whereby burning is practiced prior to harvesting, alerting relevant authorities under the forestry department is often cautioned. This helps in minimizing escape of fires into neighboring farms.
- It is interesting to note that refuse, such as husk, can be used as biomass fuel for cooking in homes. As a consequence, a minimal deforestation is achieved in areas localized near sugarcane plantations and financial resources that would have been set aside for purchasing wood or charcoal can be used for other household needs. Hence, farmers strive towards sustainable farming as excess material can be successfully utilized.
- Hard labor is required especially when harvesting sugarcane, granting seasonal employment to people in the surroundings or even attracting them from nearby territories.
- Prospect graduates can venture into sugarcane production and further create employment opportunities for other youth. Oftentimes seeking funding such as startup capital is easier when youth have an already layout plan. Therefore, as youth we ought to inspire other youth in partaking in such a venture.
- Development of extra educational curricular activities. A sugarcane plantation can serve as a center to avail knowledge on how to grow and pre-process sugarcane to the youth as well as community members in an area. Furthermore, joint ventures can be developed between feed formulation companies and farmers themselves.
- Profit obtained from sugarcane sales improves livelihood, and allows for easy purchase of farm implements needed during cultivation, as well as millers for processing of sugarcane.
To sum it all up, sugarcane production is a successful enterprise. If you are a farmer, we recommend you participate in learning how to incorporate sugarcane refuse in feed formulation.
- Hoogeboom, P. (1983). Classification of agricultural crops in radar images. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, (3), 329-336
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