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BAGASSE ENERGY COGENERATION IN MAURITIUS AND ITS POTENTIAL IN THE  SOUTHERN AND EASTERN AFRICAN REGION

By

Dr Kassiap Deepchand


BACKGROUND

Mauritius has evolved from an agricultural to a semi-industrial country over the past 2-3 decades with the sugar industry still occupying a prominent position in the economy.  The Sugar Industry  is a significant foreign exchange earner as well as a source of income to workers and to small planters, in varying degrees depending on the size of their holding.  This industry, backbone in the agriculture sector, has been undergoing increasing pressure due to sugar price stagnation or even price cuts and its rising cost of production.  These pressures have instigated a number of actions to improve efficiency and diversify its activities both at the levels of the field and factory, the ultimate objective being to increase revenue through improvement in efficiency in sugar production with a concurrent reduction in cost of production.  At the level of the field, the cultural operations are more and more mechanised after thorough derocking and land preparation, adoption of improved cane varieties and implementation of irrigation schemes.

In the cane processing side, for the same reasons enumerated above, cane milling operations are being centralised with the closure of small mills into larger units and the issue of energy generation carries a high priority in the centralisation process.  In addition, the cane milling operations are being more and more automated with the adoption of continuous processes.  Production of value added products in the form special sugars has also been adopted in this strategy of diversification within sugar.


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