Sri Lanka mulls fuel from sugar cane

Oct 09, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan prime minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has called for lower consumption of sugar, saying diabetes was on the increase, and alternative uses for the crop such as fuel production. “We consume far too much sugar for our health,” he told the 25th anniversary celebrations of the island’s Sugarcane Research Institute.

“Diabetes is on the increase alarmingly. It is spreading even among children. And one of the main causes for this is the high consumption of sugar.”

Wickremanayake suggested advising people to also put less sugar in their tea, which is extensively drunk on the island and is its main export commodity.

“I am sure tea will taste better.”

Wickremanayake said he was not trying to discourage sugarcane cultivation or production of sugar but that he wanted to highlight the need to reduce sugar imports.

The island needs about 550,000 tonnes of sugar annually but last year produced only 38,000 tonnes with the rest imported.

“We must produce what we need and cut down on imports,” Wickremanayake said.

“We must grow more sugarcane and use it for other purposes.

Scientists must do research to find other uses for sugar such as ethanol, which