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Sugar cane

Sugarcane plantation. Sugarcane production represents one of the outstanding developments of the plantation farming. Since the cane sugar producing nations of the tropics and subtropics make large quantities comprising 95% of the international trade in sugar available for trade, the commercial character is quite clear. Sugarcane producing countries of the tropics and subtropics are self sufficient in their requirements of sugar. Only the fortunate few dominate the world trade with their large exportable surplus.

Cuba. Cuba is a leading country in the production of cane sugar and she is maintaining this place of importance since long. Cuban economy is based on one crop cane sugar and hence it is very much sensitive to the international fluctuation in prices. The remarkable development of sugarcane cultivation in Cuba is reasoned by a number of factors. Sufficient rainfall of 100 cm to 175 cm, high temperature of 21°C to 27°C and calcareous soil make 4 to 8 harvests from a single planting possible. Rolling land and flat valley overlying limestone facilitate the construction of roadways and railways at comparatively low cost.

Brazil. The sugarcane plantation of Brazil owes its development to the Portuguese, who initiated it with the help of the slave laborers in the 16th century in the coastal lands of northeastern Brazil. Although every district in Brazil produces sugarcane, the greatest concentrations are to be found in the old northeastern and new east central district, the latter representing more than 50% of the Brazilian products. Brazil is left with considerable surplus for export after catering to the considerable domestic requirements.

Puerto Rico. Nearness coupled with free access to the United States is one of the main reasons for the rise of Puerto Rico as a major sugarcane producer of the world. Low plains and rolling hill lands on all sides of the island facilitate the cultivation. The drier southern part cultivates sugarcane under irrigation because of the deficiency in precipitation. Irrigation and fertilization because of the depleted soil conditions raise the cost of production,

Hawaii. The sugarcane cultivation in Hawaii is highly advanced since it is practiced with the help of machinery, fertilizer and irrigation. Cost involved in applying the modern methods is offset by five to six ratoon crops coming after the first one.

The Philippines. The Philippines is a major producer of sugarcane and sugar since the turn of the present century due primarily to its access to the great American market. Fertile soils, wet and dry climate, complete absence of frost, location near the sea board, cheap labour, and, above all the American investments are largely responsible for the development of sugarcane plantation of this country.

Indonesia. The Java island of Indonesia endowed with rich volcanic soils, cheap labour, intensive method of cultivation is the most important sugarcane growing area of Indonesia. About 80% of the production is exported.

Other producers. China, Mexico, the United States, Pakistan, Australia, Colombia, South Africa, Argentina, Formosa, Jamaica, Surinam, Mauritius and Guiana are other areas of sugarcane production. Many of the countries and islands produce all they consume and also export considerable quantities.

The commercial production of sugar succeeds best with efficient transportation since crushing must be performed within 24 hours of the harvest in order to avoid deterioration in sucrose content. That is why most of the sugar mills are located in and around the plantation area.

The success of the industry demands the utilization of various by-products like rum, power alcohol from sugar molasses. Bagasse is used as raw material for manufacturing paper.

Next: Tea Areas

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