Sugar production soared by 29 per cent to 1.15 million tonnes this sugarcane season, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Products Processing and Salt Industry said.
HCM CITY —
Its deputy director, Doan Xuan Hoa, told a review meeting held in HCM City last Friday that the country had 271,400ha under sugarcane now, an increase of 6,300ha since the last crop.
Output in the 2010-11 crop topped 16.4 million tonnes, an almost 20 per cent rise, thanks to an average yield of 60.5 tonnes per ha.
The yield and quality had both improved.
Sugarcane prices in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region and central Khanh Hoa and Ninh Thuan Provinces had risen by VND250,000-400,000 per tonne since last year to VND1.05-1.2 million and VND1.1-1.14 million.
The higher prices had encouraged farmers to expand sugarcane cultivation.
The strong growth in the domestic food processing and soft drink industries which used large volumes of sugar had led to an increase in demand to around 98,000 tonnes a month compared to 94,000 tonnes last year.
Sugar imports this year had been 93,000 tonnes, almost a third down from last year.
Nguyen Van Hoa, deputy head of the Cultivation Department, said a Government plan for the sector's development through 2020 had set targets for area under sugarcane, average yield, and sugarcane and sugar output.
But most of the targets, except processing capacity, had been missed.
The country's 39 sugar mills had a total capacity of 112.2 million tonnes, 6.8 per cent higher than the target.
He blamed this on the small scale of farming and poor infrastructure, which prevented farmers from mechanising and adopting intensive farming techniques.
There had been some unfavourable weather that had adversely impacted sugarcane output.
Moreover, some localities had not focused on zoning plans for sugarcane cultivation.
He urged provinces to make plans for sugarcane development and sugar mills to invest in developing their own cropping zones.
New cultivation techniques should be adopted to increase productivity.
Nguyen Thanh Long, chairman of the Viet Nam Sugar and Sugarcane Association, suggested establishing close links between farmers and sugar mills as well as between the mills themselves to develop the industry in a sustainable manner. — VNS