Thailand’s sugar industry affected by drought hinh anh 1A sugarcane farmer works in a burnt field, a practice that authorities have been attempting to ban in order to reduce pollution, in Suphan Buri. (Photo: Reuters)

Bangkok (VNA) -
With Thailand in the midst of its worst drought in four decades, sugar production is falling significantly for this year's crop cycle, pushing up the price of sugar globally, local media reported.

Production costs have risen in Thailand due to the drought, while the lower supply of sugar cane worldwide is putting pressure on global prices, the Bangkok Post newspaper quoted Ekapat Wangsuwan, Secretary-General of the Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) under the Industry Ministry, as saying.

Global sugar prices stand at 15 cents per pound, thanks to sugar-cane plantations slashing output globally, said Ekapat.

The OCSB expects sugar-cane output in the crop year 2019-20 to stand at 80 million tonnes, down from 130.97 million tonnes in the last crop year.

The board reported that Thailand's sugar-cane production from December 1, 2019 to February 15, 2020 stood at 7.4 million tonnes, down 14 percent year-on-year.

According to Ekapat, the drought crisis has reduced sugar-cane output and sugar mill exports, while it pushes up global sugar prices. However, Thailand's exports from sugar mills are down. In the crop year 2018-19, sugar mill production capacity was 14.58 million tonnes and exports totalled 11.98 million tonnes as 2.6 million tonnes was sold domestically.

The Thai Sugar Millers Corporation (TSMC) is concerned that the drought will cut sugar-cane output and cane yields. The sugar-cane output in the crop year 2019-20 is forecast to fall below 80 million tonnes of sugar cane and production from sugar mills will be 9 million tonnes due to the drought.

Thailand is the world's fourth-largest sugar producer and the second-largest exporter, after only Brazil. The Southeast Asian country has 57 sugar mill factories with a capacity of 983,587 tonnes a day and sugar-cane plantations in 47 provinces spanning 1.8 million hectares./.