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In the first half of March sugar cane grinding reaches almost 3 million tons

03/26/2020 | 23h47
In the first half of March sugar cane grinding reaches almost 3 million tons
Divulgation Divulgation

In the first half of March, units in the Center-South region processed 2.99 million tons of sugarcane, almost 90% of which was destined for the production of ethanol (243.76 million liters). The manufactured quantity of sugar, marginal, reached only 40.83 thousand tons.


In the accumulated since the beginning of the 2019/2020 harvest until March 16, the crushing amounted to 582.92 million tons, while sugar and ethanol production reached 26.53 million tons and 32.79 billion liters, respectively.


"With only a fortnight to the end of the harvest, this volume of renewable energy exceeds the previous record of 30.95 billion liters, recorded last season, by 2.20 billion liters," recalls the technical director of the União da Indústria da Cana -de-Açúcar (UNICA), Antonio de Padua Rodrigues.


Contributing to this record, ethanol production from corn totaled 1.50 billion liters until March 16, with 85.59 million liters manufactured in the first fifteen days of March.


In the first half of this month, 26 mills started milling. Thus, until March 16, the Center-South had 43 units in operation, with 32 plants processing sugarcane and 11 companies with corn ethanol manufacturing (3 of which are dedicated exclusively to the processing of this raw material) . Namely, on the same date of 2019, 25 units were registered processing sugarcane and another 6 with corn alone.


A preliminary survey conducted by UNICA indicates that we should see 79 production units in operation in the Center-South at the end of March (12 units postponed the start of the harvest to the first half of April). This number is slightly lower than the 80 units with grinding registered on March 31, 2019.


Until April 15 of this year, the referred survey indicates that 198 plants will be in operation in the Center-South Region, against 157 units registered in the same period last year.


Rodrigues points out that so far the companies are managing to operate normally. “We observed some specific problems, such as the delay in the delivery of equipment sent for reform, the difficulty of manual harvesting in some isolated cases and the concern with obtaining AET for the transportation of sugar cane, for example,” added the executive.


It should be noted that the units are taking all necessary precautions to preserve their employees and that maintaining activities is essential to guarantee the supply of sugar, fuel ethanol, bioelectricity and alcohol for asepsis.


In relation to this last item, it should be noted that UNICA, in a coordinated action with its associates, is promoting the donation of more than one million liters of 70% inpm graduation alcohol to the public health system.


“It is important for the authorities to understand the importance of the sugar-energy sector in the production of food, energy and, now, alcohol for asepsis. The characteristics of the raw material prevent its storage and the interruption of the production process would also severely impact the more than 700 thousand workers in this industry and the 70 thousand agricultural producers of sugarcane ”, concludes Rodrigues.


Ethanol sales 

In the first 15 days of March, ethanol sales by producers in the Center-South region totaled 1.10 billion liters, of which 29.38 million liters were destined for export and 1.07 billion liters for the domestic market.


Regarding the volume of anhydrous ethanol sold in the domestic market, there was an increase of 5.36%: 383.17 million liters, against 363.67 million liters recorded in the same fortnight of 2019. In the case of hydrated ethanol, the domestic sales totaled 690.96 million liters in the first fifteen days of March.


“To date, we have not seen a drop in the price of gasoline at the pump. The price reductions in hydrous ethanol at the producer reflect, so far, the beginning of the sugarcane harvest in the Center-South and the expectation of loss of competitiveness of biofuel in the coming weeks ”, explained the UNICA executive.


Preliminary market data indicates that there was a growth of more than 3% in the consumption of fuel from the Otto cycle in the country in February this year. Therefore, the expected retraction as a result of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 should only be observed as of March.

Font: T&B Petroleum/Press Office Unica
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