Agriculture and Environment: Sugarcane

Better Management Practices

Sugarcane growers in a number of different countries have been attempting to reduce the impacts of sugarcane production, both with and without the help of government.
In Australia, a government approach has been to ensure that sound practices are in place (download available to the right), and a website set up with good-practice information.

Similarly, growers in Florida and Louisiana have developed their own improved practices to meet increasingly strict environmental regulations.

On the other hand, sugarcane producers in countries such as Zambia have been forced to address some of their effluent issues because they threaten the assets of other downstream resources users (e.g., hydroelectric dams, local communities).


Improving the quality of soil

Most of the better management practices for sugar production involve the reduction of soil erosion and the building of soil to ensure long-term production with the use of fewer inputs.

Building up levels of organic matter in the soil can also reduce the need for other key inputs such as pesticides, fertilisers, and water.

One of the key ways to reduce the input use and to build the soil is to increase organic matter by not burning sugar fields prior to harvest.

Finally, there are a number of ways to reduce wastes and effluents from processing.
Better Management Practices (BMPs) are tools that protect the environment by helping to measurably reduce major impacts of growing commodities on the planet's water, air, soil and biological diversity. They also help producers to make profit in a sustainable way. More information...

Credits

Extracts from "World Agriculture & Environment" by Jason Clay - buy the book online from Island Press

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