Brazil is the world’s largest producer of sugarcane and, in the 2020/21 harvest, was responsible for the production of 654.5 million tons for the production of 41.2 million tons of sugar and 29.7 billion liters of ethanol1. The State of São Paulo, which leads production in the country, accounted for 54.1% of the amount produced in the 2020/21 harvest, and was responsible for the production of 48.4% of ethanol (14.3 billion liters) and 63 .2% of sugar (26.0 million tons). The sugar-energy complex, sugar and ethanol, occupies a prominent role in the export agenda, and in 2020 the sector had a national share of 9.9% (US$9.9 billion), the fourth most representative sector in the country.
Of the total national value exported, sugar represented 87.8%, and was the most representative sector in the State of São Paulo, with a share of 37.1% (US$6.4 billion)..
In the 2020/21 harvest, world sugar production was 179.9 million tons, and Brazilian production represented 22% of the total produced; for the 2021/22 harvest, production is estimated at 186 million tons.
The favorable scenario of sugar prices in the international market, the lower production of the sweetener in the main world producers, in addition to the pandemic, were factors that contributed to the increase in external demand in 2020. The country was responsible for the export of 30.7 million sugars. tons of sugar, 1.1 times more than exported in 20196. Of the total exported, 65% was sold to China, Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Morocco, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq
The port of Santos is the main port for shipping sugar in the country and, in 2020, 23.9 million tons of sugar were shipped to other countries, 77.6% of the total volume exported.
The volume of hydrous ethanol sold in the country by distributors in 2020 was 14.6% lower than in 2019, due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic9. With the reduction in the number of people traveling, 19.25 billion liters were sold in the Federation, and 10.13 billion liters in the State of São Paulo10.
In 2020, the country exported 2.69 billion liters of ethanol to the following destinations: the United States, South Korea, the Netherlands (Holland), Japan and Nigeria,
In the State of São Paulo, sugarcane is the main product of São Paulo agriculture, the crop occupies approximately 5.88 million ha in the state, approximately 100 thousand Units of Agricultural Production (UPAs), and the largest producing regions are the Rural Development Offices (RERs) of Barretos, Orlândia and Ribeirão Preto.
According to data from the Sugarcane Production Monitoring System of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, 41.7% of the sugar and alcohol producing plants are located in the State of São Paulo.
The 172 mills installed in the state corresponded to 42% of the Brazilian total and were responsible for 56% of the sugarcane crushed nationally in the 2020/2021 harvest, according to UNICA, Sugarcane Industry Union.
They produce much of the ethanol used in flex-fuel automobiles that circulate in Brazil. A revolution in the domestic auto market, bi-fuel cars were launched in 2003, with engines capable of running on hydrated ethanol, gasoline, or blend of the two in any ratio. In addition to benefiting the planet by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide, drivers have the option of choosing the most economical fuel when it comes to fueling.
São Paulo is also a major sugar producer. In 2020/21 harvest, in the São Paulo mills, 23.8 million tons of sugar were produced, corresponding to 14% of the total produced in the world. This puts the state ahead of producers such as India (13%), the European Union (10%), Thailand (6%), China (6%) and the United States (5%).
Leadership translated into international trade. The producers from São Paulo exported US $ 6.9 billion in 2021. The indispensable item in the coffee of many people around the globe accounted for 38.6% of São Paulo’s agribusiness exports.
Sugarcane can be harvested manually with machetes, or by mechanical cutters. In order to provide a higher harvest productivity and greater protection and gain of the rural worker, the burning of sugarcane before harvesting has been used a lot. However, this procedure has brought as residual effect to the urban centers located near the plantations, the soot. To overcome this problem, different actions are being developed, for example: development of machines suitable for mechanical harvesting of unburned sugarcane, development of sugarcane varieties with habit of natural spreading, very important for areas with inadequate topography mechanical harvesting. The sugarcane juice extracted in the mills of the industry is pumped to the Sugar Factory through several stages of production.,
Broth treatment – a process that promotes the removal of all soluble and insoluble impurities from the broth, such as sand, bagasse, clay, etc. This is done through the heating, chemical treatment,
decantation and sieving processes.
Evaporation – after the treatment, we obtain a transparent cane juice of slightly yellowish color that basically contains water, minerals and sugars. The purpose of the evaporation is to remove at least 75% of the water present in that clarified broth to make it into a concentrated syrup at about 65 ° Brix (% solids solubles).
Cooking – this step aims at the crystallization and recovery of 80% to 85% of the sucrose present in the syrup. The system used turns the syrup into a mass that will be centrifuged.
Centrifugation – after cooking, the mass goes through a process of physical separation (centrifugation). The sugar is centrifuged and washed with hot water and steam, having as by-product the honey that can be used in the ethanol manufacturing process.
Drying – after centrifugation, the sugar is routed to the dryers for drying and then sifted. In the sequence, it is packaged in big bags of 1200 kg and stored for commercialization.
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