The area in which sugar cane is cultivated in Brazil increased from 5.625 million hectares in the 2004-2005 crop year to 5.877 million hectares in the 2005-2006 crop year, continuing a trend that has been established over the past ten years.
During this period the cultivated area grew 28.9%, while production expanded 43.8%.
According to the president of the National Supply Company (CONAB), Jacinto Ferreira, the growth in demand for fuel alcohol, reflecting growing domestic production of flex-fuel vehicles and growing alcohol exports, was what drove the production increase.
When the two most recent crop years are compared, alcohol production rose 11.8%, while sugar production was up only 0.3%. According to Ferreira, the tendency is for the cultivated area to expand even more, since "producers are wired to the needs of the market."
Data released today by the CONAB indicate that domestic sugar cane production attained a record-breaking 436.8 million tons in the 2005-2006 crop year, 5.1% more than in the previous crop year
Of the total volume harvested, 394.4 million tons were destined for the sugar and alcohol industry: 216 million tons for sugar-manufacturing and 178.4 million tons for the production of anhydrous (used to mix with gasoline), hydrous, and common alcohol.
The rest, 42.4 million tons, was used to manufacture sugar cane liquor ("cachaça"), brown sugar cane cake ("rapadura"), brown sugar, and animal feed, as well as to furnish seeds for future crops.