Sugar cane is a plant belonging to the Gramineae family and to the Saccharum L type, comprising at least six species; however, the one with a greater agronomic use is, certainly, Saccharum officinarum L.
The sugar cane harvest, also called “soca”, begins in the middle of March and lasts until May, depending on several factors. Before the harvest, the last leaves of the plants are removed, as well as the end part traditionally known as “sabugo” (cob).
Traditionally, the harvest was “bundled” using the famous arches, quite a time-consuming and hard task, which hampered and made the transportation of the produce a difficult task. Nowadays, the bundles are lighter, which improves the work conditions during the harvest. The canes are then taken to the engenhos, where they are squeezed and their juice is used for the production of aguardente/agricultural rum or honey, according to the case.
Currently, the cultivation of sugar cane holds a cultivated area of 172 ha, with better results in the areas facing south, with the most important municipalities being Machico and Ponta do Sol, with 56% of the total area, followed by Ribeira Brava, Calheta, Câmara de Lobos, Santa Cruz and São Vicente.
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