[source: Business Year Book - The Year under Review - February 2007]
2006 crop year has been one of the worst for Mauritius
Provisional crop results indicate a production of 504 857 tonnes of sugar derived from 4 746 299 tonnes of cane brought for crushing to the factories. Both figures are the lowest achieved since the year 2001 and, compared to the average for the 2001-2005 period, are significantly lower: minus 54 298 tonnes of sugar and minus 476 354 tonnes of cane.
The drop in area harvested is a major cause for concern. Whilst the total area has been gradually decreasing since 2001 at an average yearly pace of around 1 200 hectares, the area lost from 2005 to 2006 has amounted to almost 1 700 hectares. Moreover, cane yield has been dismal, at 71.24 tonnes per hectare, lower by some 2.46 tonnes if compared to the 2001-2005 average. A contained loss of 1 200 hectares only as in recent years coupled with a cane yield comparable to the 2001-2005 average would have otherwise produced some additional 165 000 tonnes of sugar cane.
The extraction rate however has been quite satisfactory in 2006, reaching 10.64%, slightly below the 2001-2005 average of 10.69%, but markedly above the 2005 figure of 10.44%. Nevertheless, sugar yield has remained disappointingly low as extraction has not been able to make up for poor cane yield. Sugar produced per hectare amounted to 7.57 tonnes, compared to the 2001-2005 average of 7.88 tonnes and to 7.61 tonnes in 2005.
This year’s poor crop performance is to a large extent explained by the adverse climatic conditions that prevailed from January (cane growth) to July (cane maturation) with alternating periods of excessive and deficient rainfall contradicting the requirements of the cane crop. Criminal fires in cane fields have also increased and in addition to direct losses, have had serious disruptive effects on both the harvesting and the milling activity.
The 2006 crop year has been declared an event year by the Sugar Insurance Fund Board.
Provisional Results (2006)
§ Sugar produced : 504 857 tonnes
§ Cane harvested : 4 748 902 tonnes
§ Cane crushed : 4 746 299 tonnes
§ Area harvested : 66 657 hectares
§ Extraction rate : 10.64%
§ Cane yield : 71.24 tonnes/hectare
§ Sugar yield : 7.57 tonnes/hectare