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Brazil to produce more sugar, less ethanol

14 december 2012, 10:42
A sugar cane plantation. ©REUTERS
A sugar cane plantation. ©REUTERS
Brazil's sugarcane production will rise 6.5 percent this year but ethanol output will slump 5.22 percent as a greater focus is put on exporting sugar, AFP reports according to the agriculture ministry.

Data from the national crop-forecasting agency Conab said sugarcane production in the world's leading producer could reach 595.13 million tons during the 2012-2013 harvest, up from 560.36 million in 2011-2012.

"Improved weather conditions from the second half of the year in the main producing areas, such as the central-south, makes possible an increased volume of sugarcane for the milling season," an official report said.

The sugarcane is predominantly used for either sugar production or for making ethanol.

Brazil's agriculture ministry said sugar production would jump 4.72 percent to 37.6 million tons but that ethanol production would fall 5.22 percent to 23,620 million liters.

Sugar-based ethanol makes up 51 percent of Brazil's fuel market, making this country the leading biofuel exporter and the second biggest producer after the United States.

Brazil is however losing ground as many producers prefer to produce sugar for export in view of rising international prices.

The country is self-sufficient in oil but still needs to import derivatives.

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