Agribusiness & Food

Australia to become second biggest sugar exporter

Sugar cane farmer advocacy group Canegrowers expects Australia to become the second largest exporter of raw sugar, even with weather reducing the expected crop.

When sugar mills begin operating in Australia in June, Canegrowers anticipates growers will harvest around 29.5 million tonnes of sugarcane, with 28 million tonnes of harvested in Queensland.

This crop is expected to make around four million tonnes of raw sugar, 85 per cent of which will be exported.

Key Thai growing regions are experiencing drought, with exports expected to be around 2.6 million tonnes in 2021 – four million tonnes less than 2019.

Canegrowers Chairman Paul Schembri said many people would be surprised to know we are such an important player in this market, sitting second only to Brazil.

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“We have definitely had our own challenges going into the 2021 season,” Schembri said. “While there has been periodic heavy rain, La Nina didn’t deliver the soaking wet season across the regions that we were looking for and the cane crop for 2021 is around 1.5 million tonnes less than the 2020 season.

“Rain gauges tell us that the Burdekin, central, and southern regions, which normally contribute around 60 per cent of Queensland’s total cane tonnage, have had below average rainfall so far this year.

“Bundaberg, Childers and Maryborough remain effectively in drought with irrigation water storages now critically low.”

Brazil remains the largest exporter of raw sugar, exporting around 27.5 million tonnes last season.

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