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Medine Sugar Output May Fall 8.7% as Drought Limits Cane Growth

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Medine Sugar Estates Ltd., a Mauritian producer of the sweetener, said output may fall as much as 8.7 percent to 42,000 metric tons this season as drought hampers cane growth.

Cane height is currently “lagging behind” normal levels, spokeswoman Sophie Desvaux said by phone today from the capital, Port Louis. The area under cane cultivation is the same as last year, when the company produced 46,000 tons of sugar, she said.

Development of sugar cane this year is “significantly below” the same stage last year, the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute said on March 6. The island nation may produce 400,000 tons of the sweetener this year, 12 percent less than in 2010, the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate has said, citing industry estimates.

Sugar is Mauritius’s main crop, covering 80 percent of areas under cultivation and representing about 63 percent of agricultural exports, according to the Chamber of Agriculture.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis via Johannesburg at 1999 or gbell16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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