Sugar production in the state of Paraná, in southern Brazil, during the first nine months this year was 32.4% higher than recorded in the same period last year.
Between January and September this year, the last month for which there are data available, 1.74 million tons of the commodity was produced. The State Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply (Seab) estimate is for sugar production in Paraná to reach 2.23 million tons in 2006.
According to Disonei Zampieri, analyst at Seab, the Arab market is one of the main customers for sugar from Paraná. Data provided by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade show that exports of the product to Middle Eastern and North African countries through the port of Paranaguá have been growing.
Between 2004 and 2005, the volume increased by 2.8%, going from 568,200 to 584,200 tons. Another increase is expected this year. By October, the amount was 557,400 tons, or 95.4% of total exports to the region last year.
Zampieri claimed that favourable prices, climate, technology, logistics and the nearness between crop and processing plant have propelled the growth of the sugar and alcohol sector in the state.
The cane crop in Paraná should reach 32.6 million tons this year. The estimate allows for the projection, for next year, of an 18.2% expansion in planted area, which would then reach 512,100 hectares.
Market estimates indicate that in October, the sugar ton for domestic retail was listed at US$ 560.00. That was twice the value for exports: US$ 276.86 per ton.
That did not mean, though, that foreign buyers were left empty-handed. The price of exported sugar in September this year was 51.3% higher than recorded in September 2005, and 42% higher than recorded in January 2006.
Besides, foreign sales contracts must be honoured, or else they lead to loss of credibility and, therefore, of market. In the first nine months of 2006, the sugar industry in the state of Paraná accumulated 833,300 tons of exports, which accounted for 10% of physical exports in the sector during that period.
According to data supplied by the São Paulo Sugar Cane Agroindustry Union (Unica), Paraná ranks fourth in national Brazilian sugar production, after the states of São Paulo (Southeast), Alagoas (Northeast) and Minas Gerais (Southeast).
Omar Nasser works for Fiep, Paraná State Industry Federation.