30 April 2012
A Permaculture Model of Sugar Cane Production in India
We will briefly explore here the industrial application of a way of utilizing materials considered “waste” as a complete part of a byproduct process. Our model of a business using permaculture principles (see permaculture category on www.unifiedcommunity.info) is the Rajshree Sugar Company in India. We will also extrapolate here other permaculture options from their already efficient system.
The byproducts of sugar cane production are numerous, depending on which direction is chosen. After pressing the cane, Rajshree Sugar Co. will use the spent bagasse to produce three types of ethanol; the wind rows of compost (mounds of bagasse) can also go to make six different types of probiotics. These probiotic strains can be further developed and inoculated (with whey, liquid cane, etc.) and have many applications for people, animals, or plants. The spent bagasse is also used as a heating source as well as for stream generation. Tissue culture also provides a more productive, faster way of plant cultivation, which, in turn, provides more bird and wildlife habitat. In addition, spent culture can be a growing medium for medicinal mushrooms, which could then be further used in the composting process.
Many mixed uses can occur with the spent part of the cane. This material can also be a fish food for tilapia or used as a feed stock, or, by shredding the compost, could be used in pressed forms of paper or particle (fiber) board. These obviously provide many offshoots, depending on scale.
Water conservation and catchment systems (such as berming to water plants, causing no erosion) can be utilized in the design process of the property project. Water purification systems have been developed using ph, electrical and magnetic principals. Moreover, there are many natural methods to clean water. For example, ponds grown with water hyacinth can be used to clean.
Other plantings such as perennial fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs local to the area could be cultivated for valuable food and medicinal products. Pesticide use is not necessary as healthy plants thrive. With clean water, gardens can be utilized at factories and watered through channeled streams for landscaping on effective contours.
Such permaculture methods are cheaper, nontoxic, and provide sound sustainable principals, which include food production, conserving land (thus stopping erosion), and creating further use and resources of the same material. This protects the health of the workers, provides several times over more productivity, right livelihood, the superior health of the property, and a much more profitable process.
In our example, sugar and molasses are produced in a multitude of forms as would be the purpose of a sugar company. Natural cane juice would obviously be a healthier alternative to refined sugar, but we have been addressing elements of the design process after the sugar cane is pressed. This example was meant to provide a quick sketch of how many opportunities in the byproduct process could be elaborated in order to provide a completely different paradigm of thinking as well as of prosperity. The key is linking with a team which has the knowledge base of how to do a project with more efficiency, lower cost, and no health risks. This is true economic prosperity.