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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Inner Mongolia churns out beet sugar
    2017-September-12  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

AFTER decades of growth on the back of the coal mines that dot its vast grasslands, the region of Inner Mongolia is turning to sales of an altogether different kind of commodity to energize its economy — sugar.

Improved farming techniques and increased mechanization mean that swathes of Inner Mongolia, which stretches for thousands of kilometers along China’s northwestern border, are being turned over to beet cultivation, especially as government support for rival crop corn falters.

That push could ramp up sugar output in the world’s No. 4 producer of the commodity at a time when it is battling to meet rising demand, with bigger pay packets stoking appetite for sweet treats like ice cream or fizzy drinks.

It could shake up an industry that has typically relied heavily on cane grown deep in its much-warmer south, while also crimping imports of sugar from top suppliers such as Brazil and Australia, dragging further on international prices that have slumped over 20 percent this year.

“Inner Mongolia’s production has been the shining light for the beet industry in China,” said Tom McNeill, managing director of Australia’s Green Pool Commodities, a sugar industry advisory firm.

The volume of sugar produced from beets in Inner Mongolia jumped by a fifth to around 460,000 tons in the 2016/17 crop year, with the country’s total beet sugar output standing at more than 1.1 million tons, or 11.6 percent of China’s overall sugar production.

Output is on track to keep surging, driven by improved farming techniques involving planting beets more densely and irrigating more sparingly to ensure higher sugar content, said Sun Xiucai, an agent for Belgian beet seed supplier SESVanderHave.

And many growers are using more machinery to lower costs, with Inner Mongolia’s flat, wide-open terrain particularly suited to mechanization.

“We use a transplanter to plant the seedlings ... a topper to remove beet leaves and a harvester,” said Yang Jianbo, a farmer with around 90 hectares of beets in Inner Mongolia.

High local sugar prices in the wake of government steps to reduce imports via anti-dumping duties have also boosted the incentive to produce the commodity.

“It is much more profitable than other grains or crops in Inner Mongolia,” said Yang. Inner Mongolian growers will be paid up to 530 yuan (US$81) per ton of beets this year, more than twice what European Union growers will get.

SUGAR RUSH Millers, which process beet or cane into refined sugar, have been rushing to expand in the region, with industry estimating that over US$600 million will be spent on eight new plants that will more than double current production capacity.

(SD-Agencies)

 

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