Accelerating sugarcane cultivation
Pelwatte Sugar Distilleries (Pvt), a subsidiary of Pelwatte Sugar
Industries PLC will increase the cultivation of sugarcane up to 20,000
hectares which will help meet 25 per cent of the country's requirement
of sugar, said Chairman, Pelwatte Sugar Distilleries (Pvt), Ariyaseela
The company began operations in 1997 to manufacture ethyl alcohol and
bio-compost from molasses which is a by product of the sugar
"Our aim is to save the much needed foreign exchange on import of
fuel and provide employment by producing ethyl (ethanol) an alternative
to petroleum.Many countries have reduced their fuel bills by producing
ethanol, a clean and renewable energy", Wickramanayake said.
Pelwatte Sugar produces around 3,000 litres of ethanol a day and it
has the potential to increase the production to around 30,000 litres a
day. The company cultivates around 25,000 acres employing 10,000 workers
from the area.
Sugar is one of the main food items in Sri Lanka with per capita
consumption of 40kg which is within the high range among the world
consumption. Sugarcane is cultivated largely in Kantale, Hingurana,
Pelwatte, Moneragala and Sevanagala districts.
The sugar production in Sri Lanka is 56,000 MT which is 10 per cent
of the country's requirement and the annual consumption of sugar is
around 550,000 MT. Around 500,000 MT of sugar is imported annually at a
cost of Rs. 20 billion.
Wickramanayake said the Government has taken steps to accelerate
sugarcane cultivation while trying to save billions of rupees in terms
of the country's fuel bill.
The Sugarcane Research Institute launched a project to cultivate
sugarcane in Badulla, Ampara districts and over 40,000 hectares of land
have been identified in the Annuradhapura district to cultivate
"A sugarcane farmer could earn Rs. 25,000 per acre and also help
promote production of ethanol, bagasse which is a by product of
sugarcane that could be used to generate electricity and manufacture
organic fertiliser", he said.
The company's sugar production dropped last year due to the woolly
Aphid' infestation pest which increased the cost of preventive measures.
The rise in the cost of fuel and fertiliser resulted in the increase in
Sugar production in the world spreads across 100 countries of which
78 per cent is produced out of sugarcane. It is primarily grown in the
tropical and sub tropical regions of the Southern hemisphere.
The rest is produced out of beet grown in temperature zones of the
The cost of producing sugar from sugarcane is lower than using
beet.Around 68 per cent of the production is consumed by the country of
origin and rest is traded in the world markets.The International Sugar
Organisation (ISO) predicted a sugar surplus of 11.1 million MT for
2007/08 and a future growth of 2.4 per cent.
Brazil which cultivates over 10mn hectares is the world's top sugar
producer and exporter. It aims to increase the cultivation to 14mn
hectares by 2020.Sugarcane is cultivated in the central/south regions of