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Funny season again - the northen summer - so little news :
The world price bumped around the 20 ¢/lb level for the second half of August having gracefully descended back to that level in the first half of the month. Where it goes next is anybody’s guess although there is a continuing trend to talk down next year’s surplus – but it is still a surplus.
France is playing down this year’s campaign saying that initial tests indicate that the beet yield will be only 80% of that last year and the sucrose content will also be down on last year.
Belarus has always wanted a fifth beet factory but we had understood about a year ago that the government had decided not to go ahead. Now it is saying that it still wants to implement the project, it is just delayed.
Thailand’s Cane and Sugar Board is nothing if not ambitious : it plans to introduce another 14 mills by 2017 to take the total to 61 and the daily crush to 1.2 million tons. That is an average crush of nearly 20 000 tcd per mill! Once implemented the annual crush should be at about 150 million tons and hence production at about 15 million tons unless ethanol becomes a more dominant part of the mix.
People continue to be pessimistic about Brazil’s Centre South with Copersucar forecasting 510 million tons of crush with 13.4% recoverable sugars. Others however are talking of figures below 500 million tons and standing cane, particularly if the rains start early.
Ethiopia is still claiming that it is on track to build ten new sugar estates in various parts of the country. However, it also reports the cost of the overall project at about US$ 4.5 billion so one has to ask where the money is going to come from and how the interest and capital payments are to be made.
A company called Justin Sugar Mills is reported to be building a sugar estate in eastern Cameroon for an investment of $113 million. The company claims to own over 155 000 acres [~63 000 ha] of land and plans to produce 60 000 tons of sugar from 2014. The owners are reported to be Indians and Cameroonians.
The Kenyan government wants to set up another sugar estate down on the coast, this time on the north coast. In the same report it was stated that the south coast factory at Kwale would be operational by ‘March next year’.
Yet another Tanzanian project : this time a resurrection of the Bagamoyo project which we first reported in 2008. The sponsor is still Swedish despite its name - Agro EcoEnergy Tanzania – and it is supposed to produce 150 000 t/a within two years.
BAGASSE TO BIO-BUTANOL
Solvay, a major international chemical company, has announced a joint venture with a US biotechnology company called Cobalt which claims a unique fermentation process to make butanol from bagasse and other cellulosic material. The venture is to be built a 10% pilot scale unit at a sugar factory belonging to one of Brazil’s ‘top five’ sugar producers, the name of which is confidential apparently.