Sugar output from Mauritius is expected to rise 3.8 percent to 425,000 tonnes this year from 409,200 tonnes in 2012 due to favourable weather, the Chamber of Agriculture said on Friday.Sugar, a centuries-old pillar of the island’s $10 billion-a-year economy, accounts for roughly 1.2 percent of gross domestic product.”Provisional data showed a reduction in land abandonment compared to the last five years,” the Chamber said in a statement.Output fell last year from 435,309 tonnes in 2011 due to lower rainfall.

Mauritius has been losing about 2,000 hectares of sugar cane fields annually as small planters turn their back to sugar due to falling prices in its main export markets in Europe.The Indian Ocean island switched to exporting processed sugar instead of the raw commodity when the European Union cut its guaranteed price for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) sugar in 2009.

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