Focus on local sugar cane cultivation
The price of sugar globally has shot up due to the use of large
quantities of sugarcane to manufacture ethanol, a cheap bio fuel, said
Chairman, Sugar Research Institute (SRI), Dr. C.S. Weeraratne. He said
many countries have increased the acreage of sugarcane cultivation to
produce biofuel which is a viable alternative to the costly thermal
“The increasing global demand for ethanol has caused a drastic
decline in the manufacture of sugar for consumption.
Sugar prices will continue to rise due to the excessive use of
sugarcane to manufacture biofuel” Dr. Weeraratne said.Ethanol is
produced mainly in Brazil, certain Latin American countries, India and
Sri Lanka spends around Rs-. 20 billion annually on import of
sugar.Over 90 percent of the requirement is imported while around 8-10
percent is produced locally.The country’s annual sugar requirement is
The drain on the country’s foreign exchange should be curtailed by
increasing the cultivation of sugarcane. The output from Kantale and
Hingurana factories should be increased, he said.
The SRI has introduced high yielding varieties of sugarcane to
Pelwatte and Sevanagala cultivations.Controlling pests, diseases and the
proper application of fertilizer are vital to increase production.The
sugarcane cultivation was hit badly by the Woolly aphid insect which
spread fast across the country causing damage to the crops.
The SRI has implemented a biological control method to overcome the
spread of the insect.
Dr. Weeraratne said the SRI is promoting the production of jaggery in
various parts of the country and already around 1,000 families in
Badulla are supplying jaggery to the local market at a price ranging
from Rs. 50-70 per kg.