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Value and feasibility of alternative cane supply scheduling for a South African mill supply area

Le Gal P.Y., Meyer E., Lyne P.W.L., Calvinho O.. 2004. Proceedings of the Annual Congress of the South African Sugar Technologists' Association, 78 : p. 81-94. Annual Congress of the South African Sugar Technologists' Association (SASTA). 78, 2004-07-27/2004-07-30, Durban (Afrique du Sud).

In South Africa, sugarcane is delivered to the mill uniformly over the milling season and across all supply areas. This delivery schedule does not exploit the cane quality patterns, represented by the 'recoverable value' (RV) of sugar, which shows distinct regional trends, primarily due to climate differences and resulting differences in agronomic practices. A 2002 study conducted in the Sezela mill supply area showed that total RV production could be increased by 1-5%, by dividing the mill supply area into four homogenous zones and adapting allocation according to cane quality variations. Based on these positive results, a second study was requested by the Mill Group Board to assess the feasibility of the supply scenarios. A 2003 study focused on the analysis of (i) delivery curves per sub-area, (ii) inter-annual variations in quality within the supply sub-areas determined in 2002, and (iii) available capacities along the supply chain, i.e. harvest, transport and milling. Both delivery and quality curves showed a fairly stable profile from one year to another. Deliveries increased progressively during the first month of harvest and decreased quickly from the beginning of the last month onwards. Inland cane supplies usually showed a more stable quality than coastal cane during the first half of the season. Extra capacities were available all along the chain, although the amounts varied from one stakeholder to another. On average, growers were able to double their daily ratable delivery, while hauliers could increase their capacity by 35%. These results were used to design and simulate scenarios similar to the real supply chain management. They took into account the quality variations between Inland and Coastal zones and the impact of stalk borer on Coastal cane quality. Both scenarios showed RV gains of 1-3%. However, implementing the proposed changes would impact differently on growers' incomes according to their location in the supply area. This statement implies further investigation on the relationship between cane payment system and cane supply organisation.

Mots-clés : canne à sucre; récolte; traitement; industrie textile; offre; qualité; planification sectorielle; simulation; afrique du sud; approvisionnement

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