Farmers caught in two minds
FN reported earlier this week that the sugarcane crop has started early this year. The sugar mill of Porto da Cruz has been receiving sugarcane for the last two weeks when, usually, the sugar mills begin after Easter – but Easter is unusually late this year.
However, the rain that fell across most of the island last week has made farmers choose to keep the product on the land “gaining weight” – the rain helps to thicken the cane. Quality can be lost to a degree but is compensated by the increase in weight.
Each year the minimum price to be paid to the producer for the marketing year for that year is fixed. In each of the last three years the price was fixed at €0.27/kg of sugarcane based on the average saccharimetry grade of 15º Brix. This year it has been increased by one cent, with effect from March 1st.
Rather poor quality video of the sugar cane factory at Porta da Cruz on you tube – it is open to the public and well worth a visit: