More sugarcane cultivation to produce ethanol
Country to save billions on annual fuel bill:
The Ministry of Supplementary Crops Development and the Sugarcane
Research Institute will increase the cultivation of sugarcane to
manufacture ethanol which will save billions of rupees from the
country’s annual fuel bill.
Plans have been mooted to cultivate sugarcane in the Badulla, Ampara
and Moneragala districts where vast areas of land are available.
Plantation Ministry officials met farmers in Kahatagasdigiliya to
look into the possibility of cultivating sugarcane in the area. Around
40,000 hectares of land are available in the Anuradhapura district for
Ethanol is a good additive for petrol which is costly and causing a
huge burden on the economies of developing countries.
Brazil, United States, India and Australia have reduced the annual
fuel expenditure by increasing the use of ethanol as a substitute for
petrol, Chairman, Sugarcane Research Institute, Dr. C. S. Weeraratne
The country imports around 500,000 mt of sugar per year at a cost of
Rs. 20 billion.
The country produces 10 per cent of the annual requirement of sugar
which is around 550,000 mt. Around 15,000 hectares of sugarcane are
cultivated in Pelwatte and Sevanagala.
“By promoting sugarcane cultivation more ethanol could be produced to
increase blending with petrol up to 5 per cent.
Bagasse, a byproduct of the sugarcane industry can be used to
generate electricity and manufacture organic fertiliser”, Dr. Weeraratne
Pre-feasibility studies have been carried out on land availability in
many districts and prospective investors will be sought for the
A farmer could earn around Rs. 25,000 per acre of sugarcane.
The Ministry will promote the production of jaggery through
smallholders which will generate employment for people in the area.
Sugarcane will be cultivated in the Kurunegala and Matara districts as
an inter crop to coconut cultivation to manufacture jaggery.
“Sugar plays an important role in the food security and supplies
around 5 per cent of the energy required by a person a day. A person
needs around 2,500 kilo calories of energy a day”, he said.
The global food crisis has grown into alarming proportions this year
compelling nations to cut exports and increase domestic production.
The poorer nations of Asia and Africa are the worst hit due to the
crisis which the United Nations called another tsunami.
The escalation in world fuel prices, increase in consumption in India
and China and the adverse weather conditions were cited as reasons for
the shortage of food and the steep rise in prices.