A sugar cane field east of Cartago, Costa Rica. (This image is for sale here)
Most Costa Rica sugar cane crops are used to produce granulated sugars and other cooking ingredients, as well as alcoholic beverages such as rum. However, Costa Rica sugar cane is sometimes burned to provide heat. Sugar cane stalks can also be used to make a particular type of cardboard or even a rough paper.
One of the key uses for Costa Rica sugar cane is the production of ethanol. In other countries corn is the primary ingredient for producing Ethanol however, in Costa it is sugar cane. Ethanol is fuel that comes from the sugar fermentation process. Finished ethanol is generally blended with refined gasoline for two reasons: better combustion and higher octane. This nature-based fuel also helps reduce overall gasoline use and is better for the environment.
Along with dairy and cattle farms, Costa Rica sugar cane farms are a very common site.
When people think of Costa Rica, most will think of the sandy white beaches, the rainforests or Costa Rica’s fine coffee. But Costa Rica sugar cane is also used to produce beverages that are common in this country. One such sugar cane based beverage is known as agua dulce (which means sweetwater). The concoction begins with the boiling down of sugar cane juice. Guaro, considered the national liquor/drink of Costa Rica is also made from sugar cane.
I’m very happy to see Costa Rica putting efforst into this:
The Costa Rican government has launched a study into the causes of chronic kidney disease in its sugarcane producing northern region. At the same time one of the country’s biggest sugar producers said it is revamping its worker health and safety policies.
The steps follow an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that explored the mysterious and largely overlooked epidemic of chronic kidney disease — or CKD — that is killing thousands of sugarcane workers and other manual laborers in Central America.
The Costa Rica study will seek to answer one of the thorniest and most politically sensitive questions surrounding what regional health experts call an epidemic: whether the illness should be classified as an occupational disease. Many workers believe the malady is caused by pesticide exposure and working conditions. They have demanded compensation from the sugar industry, which has vehemently denied responsibility.
A “green” country takes care of ALL its people. Its heartening to see a nation that prioritizes people.