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Sugar Cane

Sugarcane or sugar cane (Saccharum) is a genus of 6 to 37 species (depending on taxonomic interpretation) of tall perennial grasses (family Poaceae, tribe Andropogoneae), native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the Old World. They have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar and measure 2 to 6 meters tall. All of the sugarcane species interbreed, and the major commercial cultivars are complex hybrids.

About 200 countries grow the crop to produce 1,324.6 million tons (more than six times the amount of sugar beet produced). As of the year 2005, the world's largest producer of sugar cane by far is Brazil followed by India.

Uses of sugar cane include the production of sugar, Falernum, molasses, rum, soda, cachaea (the national spirit of Brazil) and ethanol for fuel. The bagasse that remains after sugarcane crushing may be burned to provide both heat - used in the mill, and electricity - typically sold to the consumer electricity grid. It may also, because of its high cellulose content, be used as raw material for paper and cardboard, branded as "environmentally friendly" as it is made from a by-product of sugar production.

Fiber from Bengal Cane (Saccharum munja or Saccharum bengalense) is also used to make mats, screens or baskets etc. in West Bengal. This fiber is also used in Upanayanam - a rite-of-passage ritual in India and therefore is also significant religiously.

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