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Impact of sugarcane supply scheduling on mill sugar production : A South African case study

Le Gal P.Y., Lyne P.W.L., Meyer E., Soler L.G.. 2008. Agricultural Systems, 96 (1-3) : p. 64-74.

DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2007.05.006

The South African sugar industry has to improve its efficiency in order to remain competitive internationally. There is a potential to enhance profitability by examining the interactions between stakeholders within the supply chain at the mill area level. Three parties are generally involved: the grower, the haulier and the miller who operate as independent entities in order to harvest, transport and process the sugarcane from the fields to the mill. The sugar production depends on the way cane delivery is managed according to parameters such as capacities along the chain and the quality of the sugarcane in terms of RV % cane index (recoverable value as a percentage of the sugarcane mass). This study investigates the opportunity to exploit the geographical and temporal variations in RV production by modifying cane supply schedules during a season. A decision support tool known as Magi® was used to model the supply chain and compare supply scenarios sourcing cane from various areas in order to maximise the RV yield. The Sezela Mill supply area on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal was chosen for a case study. Two quality-based sub-areas were defined, i.e., the coastal sub-area which usually has a lower-quality product at the beginning of the season and the inland sub-area which begins with a higher-quality product. Four scenarios representing cane delivery at different starting and ending dates for each sub-area were simulated using Magi®. The results showed that by splitting the mill supply area into homogenous zones and adapting allocation according to cane quality variations, total RV gains could account for up to 7.44 millions SA Rand (793000 ¿) and 2.7% of the seasons' mill production, and existing capacities throughout the chain could sustain increased delivery throughputs. Implications of this new organization on delivery allocation between growers within a sub-area and on harvest operation at the farm level as well as on the cane payment system are briefly discussed.

Mots-clés : canne à sucre; industrie du sucre; modèle de simulation; système d'aide à la décision; transport; distribution géographique; rentabilité; qualité; planification; organisation du travail; afrique du sud; approvisionnement

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