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Last update: Sun, 07 Feb 2016 10am

Brazil's sugar harvest slowing

Sugar cane harvesting in Brazil's central-south region slowed in the first half of last month, with a growing share still going toward ethanol production, the industry association Unica said Tuesday. "The sugar cane volume transformed by units of the central-south region (the country's main sugar producing area) reached 25.77 million tons during the second half of November," down 24.44 percent compared with the first half, it said in a statement.

Brazil is the world's leading sugar producer and officials expect a bumper crop for 2013/2014. As of December 1, area mills processed 569.88 million tons of sugar cane, up 11.61 percent compared with a year ago.

Producers are increasingly turning to production of ethanol, a sugar cane-based biofuel. Unica said only 45.64 of the current harvest went to sugar production, compared with 49.82 percent a year ago and 48.57 percent in early December 2011.

Sugar production from the start of the harvest till late November reached 33.14 million tons, marginally up over that of last year while ethanol output soared 18.95 percent to 24.25 billion liters.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013