TSMC wants imminent sugar-cane crushing

TSMC wants imminent sugar-cane crushing

Thailand had 131 million tonnes of sugarcane during the crop year 2018/19.
Thailand had 131 million tonnes of sugarcane during the crop year 2018/19.

The public relations body of the Thai Sugar Millers Corporation (TSMC) wants the government to allow factories to start sugar-cane crushing for the 2020/21 crop year as soon as this week because it expects global sugar prices to increase.

The Office of the Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) usually holds a meeting with sugar manufacturers to determine the date, based on their readiness.

TSMC, which comprises 57 sugar mills, wants to take advantage of low sugar cane output that will allow them to finish sugar production sooner and prepare for competition in the global market.

The volume of sugar cane for the 2020/21 crop year is expected to decrease to 70 million tonnes from its target of 75 million a year because of the drought crisis, less sugar cane plantations and Covid-19 pandemic that affected demand for sugar cane-related products.

TSMC board chairman Pramode Vidtayasuk said the group wants the OCSB to allow farmers to send the crops from their farmland to factories between Dec 10 and 15.

Lower projected output should also shorten their delivery time.

Thailand is the world's fourth largest sugar producer and the second largest exporter after Brazil.

The country has a total of 57 sugar mills, with combined capacity of 983,587 tonnes per day.

Sugar cane plantations cover 11.4 million rai in 47 provinces.

In the 2018/19 crop year, Thailand had 131 million tonnes of sugar cane from 12.1 million rai, according to OCSB.

The volume was 74.9 million tonnes from 11.6 million rai in the 2019/20 crop year.

Siriwut Siempakdi, president of TSMC's public relations working group, warned another round of drought will significantly reduce the output for the 2020/21 crop year.

He said earlier the sugar industry must brace for drought and food crisis as well as the impact of the pandemic.

If sugar cane plantations in the Northeast see lower than normal rainfall during the wet season, the 2020/21 crop year could experience record low output, he said.

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