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Monday, June 18, 2018

Sugar Cane Production, Costa Rica

Sugar cane is a vital part of Costa Rica’s economy and it seems that no part of it is wasted. It is made into granulated sugars (white, refined, white special, raw). The canes can be burned for heat, processed into agricultural mulch, and the stalks used in cardboard and rough paper. It is used in ethanol production. And let us not forget guaro - some say the national liquor drink of Costa Rica!

In the 2016 season, there were 7,074 sugar cane producers and 13 sugar mills around the country. Where we live now, we are surrounded by hectares of sugar cane fields. When the cane is flowering, the effect is beautiful - fields of white flowers.

Harvesting involves burning the fields before cutting to get rid of dry leaves and venomous snakes. This is important for the safety of the cane cutters. The cutting is done with machetes or cane knives and it looks to be very hard work.

The Cacique brand of guaro is produced near Grecia. Here’s an informative article on guaro: Tico Times.  Learn how sugar is processed in the mills from Sugarcane.Org.

We often find ourselves behind a tractor pulling cane trailers headed for the mills. There is a sugar cane mill not far from us and we stopped there one day to watch what was going on. I made a video of the mill, including photos of the cane fields and the Cacique factory.





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