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Overview of Réunion sugar industry

Lejars C., Siegmund B.. 2004. Proceedings of the Annual Congress of the South African Sugar Technologists' Association, 78 : p. 29-37. Annual Congress of the South African Sugar Technologists' Association (SASTA). 78, 2004-07-27/2004-07-30, Durban (Afrique du Sud).

On Réunion Island, the sugar industry plays an important role in the agricultural sector, not only in terms of production and export revenue, but also in regard to the number of people it employs. The sugar industry accounts for 27% of the agricultural production on the island, and provides a source of income for 5000 small-scale farmers. Sugarcane covers 26 500 hectares, and around 2 million tons of sugarcane is crushed each year by the two mills on the island. Moreover, sugarcane plays a significant environmental role as it helps to reduce soil erosion and to treat livestock effluent. It also provides energy resources in the form of 22% of the island's electricity and as most of the crop is harvested as green cane, it contributes to green tourism and landscape quality. However, over the past 10 years, the Réunion sugar industry has had to face the difficulties of available arable land decreasing because of urbanisation, an increase in production costs, strong currency and environmental pressures. The industry is thus looking for solutions that will improve profitability while dealing with difficult conditions such as steep slopes that limit mechanisation, the large diversity in farm sizes and production systems, and stricter environmental regulations. Although the industry is highly subsidised, permanent expansion and efforts have been made to maintain the industry. Technical, organisational and economic solutions have been developed in terms of mechanisation, transport costs, varieties adapted to various climatic conditions, irrigation and regional planning. This paper gives a detailed overview in this context and its perspective. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : petite exploitation agricole; récolte; culture de rapport; production; canne à sucre; réunion; filière

Thématique : Culture des plantes; Economie de la production

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