After heavy invasion of rafinanted sugar on the domestic sugar market for many years, the consumers perception of the quality of sugar was changing. Today the consumers preference drifted to the kind of sugar that was white and sparkling, with large and dry granules. In respon se to the changing consumers preference, PT Perkebunan Nusantara XI [PT PN XI sugar mills] starting from production period 2009 planned to launch a sugar quality improvement campaign. Adig Suwandi, Corporate Secretary PT PN XI disclosed to Business News Friday [8/5].
So far, the quality of sugar produced by PT PN tend to improve. But the sugar producer which managed 16 factories in East Java set a quality standard of sugar as specified in ICUMSA color max 200 IU, size of crystal granules 1.2 mm and moisture level 0.05%. Whilst rafinated sugar used as raw materials for food and beverages ICUMSA was set up at 50 IU, size of crystal granules 0,8 mm and moisture 0.05%. The lesser the INCUMSA the better the color which was sparkling white.
The sugar products of PT PN as sugar mill products of 2008 which market the best ICUMSA was obtained from the Kanigoro sugar mill in Madiun [140 IU] whilst the highest INCUMSA was from Redjosari Mill in Magetan [256 IU]. Besides PT PN XI also focused on producing dry sugar which do not easily roll up. Quality improvement of sugar was not just exercised in the mill by replacement of aged machines and equipments are precondition to quality upgrading, but also in nursery and cultivation of sugarcane plantations.
Bio compost did not only improve the physics of soil for better water retention, but also in creased the phosphate content to be absorbed by plant. The low phosphate absorption by plant had its effect on the processing of sugarcane essence, so it was often necessary to add phosphate acid to ease the process.
In addition to that, to improve the quality of sugar, PT PN also changed the process from sulphate to carbonating at the Semboro Jember sugar mill. This factory was chosen because of the availability of equipments and also because of the low investment value. Through change of process, it was expected tha the quality of sugar be equal to rafinated sugar, so at the right time soon PT PN would be more ready to embark on the market to fulfill industrial needs.After the Semboro sugar mill, the change of processing technique would also be exercised at the Djatiroto sugar mill, in Lumajang, and to be followed by other factories. The program of sugar quality improvement also included stepping up milling capacity.