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Sugarcane Growing in Kenya.

Sugarcane is a coarse perennial grass belonging to sacharum family.

It was introduced in Kenya in 1902 by an Australian farmer whereby commercial growing began in Miwani, Kibos and Ramisi.

Main Growing Areas

Nyanza: Muhoroni, Miwani, Chemilil.

Coastal: Ramisi.

Western: Mumias and Nzoia.

Conditions Favouring Sugarcane growing (requirements)

Physical conditions

a) High temperatures(21◦c-27◦C)

b) High and well distributed rainfall (1200-1500mm annually).

c) Dry and sunny weather during harvesting to increase sugar accumulation in the cane.

d) Fertile and well drained soils.

e) Altitude between sea level and 1600m.

Human Requirements

a) Abundant labour for planting, weeding, cutting and loading onto trucks.

b) A good transport infrastructure for sugarcane to reach the factory within a week after harvesting.

c) Location of processing factories within the growing areas for quick processing of sugarcane before losing its sugar content through drying.

Cultivation of Sugarcane

o Shallow furrows are made across the field at intervals of 1.2m-1.8m apart.

o Pieces of older sugarcane are laid horizontally in the furrows.

o They are covered lightly with the soil which they grow a cluster of shoots called stool.

o Nitrogenous fertilizer is applied when plants are growing at a high rate.

o Weeding is done when the crop is fairly short.

o After about 14 months the cane is ready for harvesting.

o After harvesting two ratoons the stools are dug out, land tilled and new setts are planted.

Harvesting of Sugarcane

o The cane may be set on fire to rid it of husks, trash, and harmful insects and animals.

o it is then cut using pangas within 48 hours if burnt to avoid conversion of tea sugar.

o The husks and the top green part are removed if it wasn’t burned.

o The cane is then loaded onto trucks using machines called mechanical grabs.

o Then it’s transported to the factory to be processed within 48 hours.

Processing of Sugarcane

o At the factory the cane is put in large water tanks where it is washed.

o It’s passed through a machine which cuts it up into short pieces.

o The pieces are passed between rollers to crush and squeeze out the juice.

o Fine matter in suspension and soluble non-sugars are precipitated leaving the juice.

o The juice is boiled with lime until it turns into thick syrup.

o The syrup is passed through crystallizers where sugar crystals grow.

o It’s then led into centrifuges to separate crystals from molasses resulting into a raw coarse brown sugar.

o The brown sugar is decolourised with carbon black.

o Repeated crystallization is done to obtain various grades and sizes.

o The sugar is then dried and screened and then packed ready for sale or use.

Uses of Sugar

a) In baking to sweeten bread, cakes, etc.

b) Sweetening foods and drinks e.g. porridge, chapati.

c) Making local brews e.g. Karubu.

d) In soft drinks industries e.g. soda.

Content created and supplied by: Sammy045 (via Opera News )

Kenya Kibos Miwani Mumias Ramisi


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