Brazil's Companhia Nacional do Abastecimento is forecasting record levels for the 2007-2008 sugarcane production fuelled (pun intended) by the expansion of ethanol. According to this official organisation, this year's production of sugarcane will reach 547.2 million tons, 15.2 percent more than last year's 474.8 million.

The uses for this huge amounts of sugarcane are divided this way: 40.5 percent for sugar manufacturing (30 million tons of sugar) and a whopping 46 percent to produce 21.3 billion liters of ethanol, 22 percent more than last year's production. The rest of the sugarcane is used for producing specific sugars, panela and liquor (cachaça for caipirinhas, among others).

Because of the increased demand for ethanol, Brazil producers have increased by 12.3 percent the acres dedicated to sugarcane. Plans are to double this production in five-years time.

The ethanol industry is booming for Brazil, and the country has signed agreements with many countries to expand its use. For instance, Brazil exported 3.9 billion liters of ethanol in 2006, compared to 2.6 billion in 2005 - That's 70 percent of the international trading market for this fuel. Of the 2006 exports, 1.7 billion liters reached the US, 346 million went to the Nederlands, 225 to Japan and 204 to Sweden.


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