Sugar mills plan help in harvesting to stop burning of sugar cane by farmers

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Sugar mills plan help in harvesting to stop burning of sugar cane by farmers

Sugar mills plan help in harvesting to stop burning of sugar cane by farmers


Sugar mills across Thailand are working to tackle the problem of sugar cane burning with the aim of reducing PM2.5 pollution.

The Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) recently invited all parties involved in the cane and sugar industry, including representatives of sugar cane farmers and sugar mills to discuss measures to end the burning of sugar cane in order to reduce the environmental impact and the occurrence of PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter).

“To solve this problem sustainably, all parties including government agencies and factories, must work together by adding supportive measures to encourage farmers in cutting fresh sugar cane,” said Pramote Wittayasuk, president of Thai Sugar Millers Corporation (TSMC).

Sugar mills plan help in harvesting to stop burning of sugar cane by farmers

He said 57 sugar mills were ready to cooperate with provincial and local authorities.

The plan to solve this problem is by “granting contracted farmers a loan for purchasing sugar cane harvesting trucks, so they can harvest sugar cane at a low cost compared to using labourers,” Pramote explained.

He said TSMC is ready to buy sugar cane leaves at 800 baht per tonne for generating electricity.

He added that the agency would reduce the price of burned sugar cane by 30 baht per tonne in a bid to encourage farmers to stop their practice of burning the cane.

“This will help boost the efficiency of cane extraction, while it will benefit both farmers and factories,” he said.

However, sugar mills see the regulations on refusing to buy cane sweetness with less than 6 commercial cane sugar ( the estimated yield of cane sugar from sugar cane) and burnt sugar cane that is not up to standard as unfair and not conducive to sustainable solutions.

As a long-term solution, sugar mills will help educate farmers in raising awareness of sustainable cultivation, such as promoting the use of agricultural machinery and changing sugar cane cultivation methods.

According to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, forest and agricultural waste burning was the biggest cause of PM2.5 in the past 10 years.

As per Isra News, in 2021, the burning of forest and agricultural areas totalled about 35 million rai (5.6 hectares).

The highest was the burning of rice fields, which at 20 million rai accounted for 57%, followed by the burning of forests at 9.7 million rai, accounting for 28%, and sugar cane burning at 2.7 million rai, which accounted for 8%.

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