Role of the sugar palm in Masarang projects
The amazing sugar palm has a central role in Masarang’s reforestation programs. This particular tree can be used both locally and globally as a sustainable resource and therefore be a very good alternative to the devastating palm oil.
Palm sugar has unique features.
Palm sugar is made from the sap of the Indonesian Arenga palm.
The sugar has a light caramel-like flavor and is not as sweet as for instance sugar cane.
Not only the taste of the sugar is unique, but also the environmentally friendly manufacturing process and the perceived health benefits.
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The Sugar palm Factory of Masarang
After the manual harvest of the sugar palm juice, it is upgraded in the Masarang sugar factory in North Sulawesi to a granulated sugar. The processing of the sugar takes a lot of energy and originally timber is used for this proces. Willie Smits, supported by the Indonesian government, has built a sugar factory, which produces waste heat from the local geothermal power plant instead of wood. Apart from sugar it is also possible to make fuel.
This innovative project is rated as one of the 12 best green initiatives in the world (in the World Challenge 2007), and the BBC has made a short documentary entitled ‘Steaming Ahead”.