Sugar Cane in Mauritius
Sugar Cane in Mauritius is found almost everywhere. Take a drive and you will pass fields of sugar cane. The tall green sugar cane plants cover a third of Mauritius. Sugar is made in the leaves of the sugarcane plant and is stored as a sweet juice, which can be squeezed out and drank as a refreshing beverage.
First introduced to the island by Dutch settlers in 1639. Sugar was manufactured for the first time in 1696. The sugar industry expanded in the 19th century and sugar production reached 150,000 tonnes in 1862. used to produce an alcoholic beverage called arrack. Arrack is made of molasses, which is produced as a by product when making sugar. There are currently 11 sugar factories operating in Mauritius.
At the sugar mill, the cane stalks are washed and cut into shreds. Huge rollers then press sugar cane juice out of the shredded stalks. The juice is then clarified, concentrated and crystallised. The Mauritius Sugar Syndicate (MSS) is the commercial arm of the sugar sector in Mauritius and is responsible for the marketing and export of all the sugar produced locally.
At present, the cost of cane sugar production in Mauritius is among the highest due to a low milling capacity and a short season. There is also a high ratio of labour costs. Also the subsidies given to the EU sugar beet farmers make competition even more difficult.
One big benefit of sugar cane in Mauritius is its use for renewable energy. Mauritius is weaning itself off fossil fuels by turning to its sugar cane in to electricity. The leftover, crushed stalks and tips, which are dry fibrous material known as bagasse, is burned to help power Mauritius. Electricity from sugar cane now accounts for around 14% of the island’s needs. In Mauritius, around 60% of the island’s electricity is generated by 4 sugar companies, each of them running their own thermal power stations. This all adds to the green eco-friendly credentials of Mauritius.