Viet Nam News
HCM CITY -- Government approval for importing 100,000 tonnes of sugar will help meet demand in the local market, but cannot bring down prices because the distribution system is poor, economists say.
The prolonged drought has had a great impact on the sugar industry, with sugarcane production falling for the last two years.
Đỗ Thanh Liêm, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Sugarcane Association, said this year’s sugar supply would only reach 1.2 million tonnes, a whopping 1.4 million tonnes less than last year, pushing up retail prices.
From VNĐ13,000 per kilo last year, they have shot up to VNĐ17,000-21,000.
This has persuaded the Government to approve the import of 100,000 tonnes as recently suggested by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
“However, the import … cannot help lower sugar prices immediately,” Liêm said.
Sugar prices are high in the world market and so import prices will be high, he said.
Vũ Vinh Phú, chairman of the Hà Nội Supermarket Association, said the diminished supply is not the main reason for the price increase.
Locally produced sugar can meet 70-80 per cent of the demand, while the remaining 20-30 per cent is met by illegal imports from Thailand, he said.
“Poor distribution has forced sugar prices up. The production costs range from VNĐ13,000 to VNĐ14,000 per kilo, but it is sold for VNĐ19,000 at traditional markets and VNĐ20,000–21,000 at supermarkets.
He said the distribution channels should be improved and intermediaries should be eliminated to bring sugar directly from the refineries to retailers.
“Furthermore, sugarcane growers should be paid better so that they do not chop sugarcane when prices go down.”—VNS