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Farmers & Graziers

18 April, 2021

Australia overtakes Thais

AUSTRALIA has overtaken Thailand as the world's second largest exporter of raw sugar.

CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schemberi said that most Australians, including the Palaszczuk and Federal Governments, and some cane growers, will be surprised to know that AUstralia is such an important player in the world sugar market, sitting second only to Brazil.

“It is also not recognised that 85 percent of the Australian sugar crop is exported and that our sugar industry, which is mostly in Queensland, employs over 40,000 people,” Mr Schembri said.

” When Australian sugar mills fire up in June, growers will harvest around 29.5 million tonnes of sugarcane with 28 million tonnes of that in Queensland.

“This will produce around four million tonnes of raw sugar earning $1.7 billion, where every $1 earned from sugar in Queensland has a multiplying effect and creates $6.42 in economic business and economic activity.

“Brazil exported a huge 27.5 million tonnes of raw sugar last season, while in comparison, Australia exported 3.4 million tonnes where for every seven tonnes of cane produces one tonne of sugar.

“Thailand used to export five to seven million tonnes of sugar a year, but dry conditions and pressure to grow other crops reduced Thai exports to only 1.8 million tonnes.

“While in Queensland government regulations have put canegrowers under enormous pressure when international sugar prices are around $400 a tonne, or about the cost of production.

“Queensland growers have also been hampered by periodic heavy rain, as 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 percent 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.”

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