sugar cane

#ecocostarica

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.

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You might also be interested in:

Volcan Turriabla, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica at Night

The Incredible Quetzal of Costa Rica

18 comments

  1. Comment by Laura Shields

    Laura Shields Reply December 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Nice, Jim. Thanks ~

  2. Comment by Jess Van Wickel

    Jess Van Wickel Reply December 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Very well composed photo; Nice!

  3. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Thank YOU. It makes you want to SIGH a bit….so peaceful here. I spent the afternoon walking in a giant garden. Flowers everywhere! I love it.

  4. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Thank YOU. It makes you want to SIGH a bit….so peaceful here. I spent the afternoon walking in a giant garden. Flowers everywhere! I love it.

  5. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you Jess! They tell me not to go in there, that the sugar cane is full of snakes. VIPERS!

  6. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you Jess! They tell me not to go in there, that the sugar cane is full of snakes. VIPERS!

  7. Comment by Debbra Dunning Brouillette

    Debbra Dunning Brouillette Reply December 5, 2013 at 4:23 am

    So you risked being bitten by vipers to get this shot? Since you emerged unscathed, it was worth it! I so want to go to Costa Rica. It is on my list!

  8. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply December 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Debbra, I was well above those vipers! Safe and sound. The only thing I risked was getting hit by a truck….actually…I'll bet that is scarier than a viper!

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  13. Comment by Diary of a muzungu

    Diary of a muzungu Reply February 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    What a beautiful photo. We have some similar scenes here in Uganda, but they make me uncomfortable, especially when I hear of all the beautiful mature indigenous trees and even virgin rainforest that is cut down for sugarcane, a very water intensive crop. I've always thought of Costa Rica as one of the dream ecotourism destinations. Do sugar cane plantations really fit with that image? Those tall trees in your photo are all that is left of the original forest. "Save Mabira Forest! we can live without sugar" http://muzungubloguganda.com/2011/09/save-mabira-forest-we-can-live-without-sugar/#.UvpdAtwW2So

  14. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply February 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I think you bring up some excellent points. Yes, Costa Rica is a dream place for ecotourism but there are many other troubling aspects of the land management in that country. The sugar cane fields as well as the unregulated use of chemical pesticides really bother me.

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  16. Comment by Diary of a muzungu

    Diary of a muzungu Reply February 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks to shining a light on Costa Rica – but we do need to make people aware that 'all that glitters is not gold.' Few people are aware of the environmental cost, but would be very shocked if they knew.
    Eat honey, I say :)

  17. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply February 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Diary of a muzungu I totally agree!

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