Brazil's sugarcane crop grew 13.9% this year, with record production of 571.4 million tons. The cropland in 2008 was 8.5 million hectares (21 million acres), according to the most recent study by the National Food Supply Company (Conab), completed in November and disclosed Monday, December 15.
The production of sugar should reach 32.1 million tons, with the grinding of 246 million tons of cane.
Production of ethanol should use 325.3 million tons of cane, resulting in production of 26.6 billion liters, with 10.1 billion liters of anhydrous alcohol, which is added to gasoline and 16.5 billion hydrated alcohol, fuel, sold at gas stations.
On presenting these figures, Conab president Wagner Rossi stated that the appreciation of the dollar tends to favor sugar and alcohol sector exports. Apart from that, in the first nine months of this year, the prices of sugarcane products should rise, due to the period between crops, stabilizing in the second quarter.
The new agricultural zoning elaborated by the Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil is going to inhibit the advance of sugarcane in areas of Brazil where food is planted and in ecosystems considered sensitive, like the Amazon, the Pantanal and the Atlantic Forest.
"The new agroecological zoning of sugarcane blocks expansion in areas we consider inadequate," said last month the chief of staff of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, who represented president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the opening of the National Biofuels Conference, in São Paulo. "Biofuels cannot and should not compete with food," she said.
To the government of Brazil, zoning comes to provide an answer to international public opinion. The production of biofuel in Brazil has already been accused of causing deforestation and occupying the space of crops.
"The study was well done so as to show the world that we work correctly in the area of biofuels," stated the minister of Agriculture, Reinhold Stephanes, pointing out that the organization of the study took one and a half years.