Mauritian Sugar Farmers Squeezed by Low Prices as Bagasse and Ethanol Become Popular By-products

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PORT LOUIS - While Mauritius has been forced to transform its sugar industry because of low prices for the commodity, the country’s small-scale sugarcane farmers who contribute to it say they are barely earning a living.
Previously, Mauritius produced only raw sugar from the cane plant. Now it produces value-added refined and special sugar, electricity from bagasse, ethanol and will soon produce bio-plastics.

According to Jugessur Guirdharry, a sugar cane farmer here, farmers are only paid for the amount of sugar produced from canes and nothing for the electricity which they sell to the national grid, or for the molasses and ethanol.

About 75 percent of the sugar produced in Mauritius is value-added refined and special sugar that is sold mainly in Italy, Spain, Greece, United Kingdom and Belgium while the rest is sold to a hundred clients in niche-markets in the United States and China. (END//2014)

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