Cultivation of Sugar Cane and Associated Problems

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Sugar cane is one of the most cultivated crops around the world. There are over 90 countries that grow and harvest sugar cane. With the top producers being Brazil, India, China, Thailand, Pakistan, Mexico, Colombia, Indonesia, Philippines and the United States. Brazil stays on the top of this list. 90% of the sugar produced in Brazil is from the south central region. India was the first country to discover a way to crystallize sucrose. With the discovery, India was able to make a profit from trading the sugar for a high price.

Sugar cane was originally found to be native to warm tropical regions of Asia. However, with rising demand for sugar cane, other countries began to start harvesting the plant as well. Since at the time that sugar cane was introduced to new lands, it was not easy to grow. Since the African slave trade was still of high use, the landowners began to send the sales out the fields to work, which helped with making the growing faster and highly profitable.

Sugar canes are grown in many areas around the world. Once India had discovered that sugar cane could be crystallized the demand for sugar worldwide had an uproar. This was due to sugar used to be extracted by chewing on the cane. Then later many countries began to also start growing sugar canes since the demand became very high.

In recent years there has been numerous sugar cane restaurants and stores popping up in many places such as in shopping centers. The businesses then boomed as many people wanted to try something new to them, earning a higher profit the businesses.

Due to the demand of sugar cane, there had been numerous regions of land being cleared for the canes to be planted. There has also been loss of habitats of the species that live in the tropical forests and biomes. There is also degradation of the biomes due to agriculture. Overgrazing can lead to the loss of a biome. Overgrazing causes the land to become dry as if it were a dessert, the biome starts to become more like a dry wasteland.

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As with many plants there are usually pests that could possibly threaten the production of the sugar canes. Pests are able to damage the plant from the inside to the leaves. Ways that some pests can spread to other stalks are through planting infected materials or through wind borne spores in a short distance.

Sugar cane can also have diseases and viruses. A disease such as grassy shoot disease can cause severe yield loss of sugar cane. This disease can be spread through the use of infected planting materials or from insects.

With the diseases and pests that comes with growing a sugar cane supply it would be difficult to meet consumers demands as the supply has lessened which makes the supply smaller. With the high demand, time and money is lost as soon as sugar canes are harmed, as there is no use for dying or diseased canes.

The environmental impact of sugar crane producing not only disrupts the biome that is needed for the growth, but also other biomes as well. Since farmers need to produce the canes at a fast rate, they may use fertilizers that contain chemicals that harm the environment. The runoff of the fertilizers can end up in the waterways through flooding or just being washed down a river which may lead elsewhere. An example of the damage to another environment is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Since the use of fertilizers, this causes the runoff from the lands of agriculture to be harmful to the environment. Since there is the use of nitrogen in fertilizers, the runoff that leads to the Great Barrier Reef can cause outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish. These starfish are harmful to coral, as they eat away at the coral. These starfish cause the coral to deteriorate drastically, as they are able to eat one square meter of coral per month. Seeing that the corals are eaten away, the fish that used to live and rely on the coral have to go elsewhere due to coral not being there anymore. As many fertilizers are also high in nutrients, the runoff into the reefs can cause more algae growth in waters. The animals and plants of the reefs may also change due to the growth of algae.

As the farming of sugar canes and the impacts it causing have come to the attention of those who wish to preserve and stop biomes from deteriorating, there are programs to help stop the environmental impacts. Australia’s Smartcane BMP program has one of the best sugar crane management practice programs. The program was developed by the canegrowers of Queensland with the help of the Queensland government. This is due to the fact that the canegrowers needed the funds in order to begin the program. The BMP program categorizes the canegrowers with ‘below industry standard’, ‘industry standard’ or ‘above industry standard.’ Categorizing the farms helps with spreading and promoting the proper practices, as each canegrower would recognize the work of others and want to do the same but better. As the program promotes a better practice, the soil health, nutrient management, diseases, pests and weeds management and the management of drainage are all focused on by the growers. With the focus on the environment, it helps to keep their location as healthy as possible while keeping other biomes just as healthy.

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Cultivation of Sugar Cane and Associated Problems. (2023, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Cultivation of Sugar Cane and Associated Problems.” Edubirdie, 08 Sept. 2023,
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