La Niña could create global supply problems in sugarcane next year, as the current climate event causes severe drought in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer of sugarcane.
São Paulo state, Brazil’s biggest sugar producing state by far, is experiencing its worst drought in over a decade, according to Gro’s Drought Index. 47% of São Paulo is currently under exceptional drought.
The dry conditions may boost sugar production during the approaching late stage of this year’s harvest, as dryness increases sucrose concentrations in cane. But the drought severely hurts the outlook for the 2021/22 cane crop, especially if the abnormally dry weather continues into the first quarter of 2021. Brazil produces nearly 50% of the world’s sugarcane.
Current conditions are worse than those seen during the strong La Niña event of 2010-2012. Sugarcane yields in Brazil’s center-south region dropped substantially. Yields in São Paulo state fell 8% from 2010 to 2012, while yields in Mato Grosso do Sul fell 22%.
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