Although the extraction rate is expected to be higher as compared to last year, the sugar production will be much lower than usual. The higher extraction would not seem to “fully compensate for the anticipated reduced cane production”, as mentioned in the last monthly bulletin of the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute (MSIRI). The harvest is expected to yield around 465 000 tons of sugar this year. It represents a shortfall of some 50 000 tons with respect to our commitment towards the European market under the Sugar Protocol. And we have still to honor another commitment vis-à-vis the USA.
Last year with a production of some 506 000 tons the shortfall was about 18 000 tons. These figures are much less than what was obtained some years back when the production was over 600 000 tons.
But this decrease in production was forecast by the MSIRI. The cane elongation have been observed to be inferior than normal and also with regard to the previous year as stated in the bulletin: “island-wise the cumulative elongation of 162,1 cms for the 2007 crop was inferior to that of the 2006 crop by 21,8 cm (11,8 %) and to the normal by 26,8 cm (14,2 %).”
As regards the final extraction the MSIRI notes that “sucrose accumulation is higher than that at the same period last year. Despite the fact that further ripening is heavily dependent on forthcoming weather, indications at this stage are for a higher final extraction rate this year compared to 2006 “.
With the end of the sugar protocol reforms in the sugar sector have become imperative and several acres of land have been converted into residential or commercial estates with the result that less land is under sugar cultivation. This trend is expected to continue as we shift further into the reform process already initiated.