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Posted on  

February 16, 2001

Brazil CS harvests 207 mln T sugarcane in 2000/01

Cane production from Brazil's 2000/01 center-south harvest should amount to 207 million tonnes, down 22 percent from 1999/00 due to poor weather, the Sao Paulo Cane Agroindustry Union (Unica) said on Wednesday.

The center-south, which produces 80 percent of Brazil's cane, should export 5.4 million tonnes of sugar from the crop, close to half of the 10.2 million tonnes exported in 1999/00, said Unica's president Eduardo Pereira de Carvalho.

Brazil, the world's largest producer and exporter of sugar, allocates part of its yearly cane crop for the production of sugar and part for alcohol, or ethanol, which is distilled from cane liquor to help fuel the country's auto fleet.

Unica said it expected the center-south would finalize its 2000/01 production with 9.06 billion liters of alcohol and 12.6 million tonnes of sugar, down 22 percent and 25 percent from the previous crop's production, respectively.

Center-south farmers completed their harvesting operations in December and the next crop officially opens on May 1. The balance of Brazil's cane is grown in the north-northeast, whose harvest Carvalho said could see a gain of nearly 20 percent.

Carvalho attributed most of the fall in center-south cane production to drought at the start of the crop cycle, followed by June/July frosts and then heavy rains in September and October which sliced into yields.

"By far the main reason for the drop in the (2000/01) crop was the drought in the center-south, but the average age of the cane harvested since 1999 has been rising sharply," he said.

The average age of the cane harvested in Sao Paulo, by far the most significant of Brazil's producer states, had risen from 2.8 years in 1995 to 3.5 years in 1999 -- contributing to a fall in productivity within the industry, said Carvalho.  


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