SAO PAULO, March 28 (Reuters) – Brazilian mills processed just 142,000 tonnes of sugarcane in the first half of March, 91% less than in the same period a year earlier, while companies expect cane to develop completely and at times when there are sufficient stocks of sugar and ethanol.
According to an article by the industrial group Unica published on Monday, the sugar mills did not produce sugar in the first half of March and the processed cane was used entirely for the production of ethanol, which reached 168 million liters in the period -including the fuel made with corn-, and 17% less than a year before.
The Brazilian sugar season officially begins in April, but mills traditionally start grinding earlier if there are lists of cane fields to process.
However, frost and the most severe drought in 90 years in 2021 led to slower crop development for the current season, leading mills to wait longer to start harvesting.
“Only a handful of mills should start crushing in March,” Unica technical director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues said.
Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of sugar in the world.
(Reporting by Roberto Samora and Marcelo Teixeira; Editing in Spanish by Javier Leira)