|Workers package sugar for Sơn Dương Sugar and SugarCane Company in the northern province of Tuyên Quang. -VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh |Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Sugar output in the 2015-16 crop was 1.23 million tonnes, a year-on-year drop of 12.7 percent, said Phạm Quốc Doanh, Chairman of the Việt Nam Sugarcane and Sugar Association, at a seminar in HCM City last week of sugar producers, distributors and consumers.
Together with 185,000 tonnes of imports, this fully met the domestic demand forecast by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, he said.
Prices would not fluctuate much from now through the Lunar New Year on January 28, he said.
Many sugar mills had signed long-term contracts with beverage production companies and fulfilled them.
Sugar prices depend much on sugarcane prices and global sugar prices, but with production of six months supplying demand for the whole year, output and prices are often volatile, he said. Sugar traders and food and beverage producers dislike this volatility, he added.
Representatives of Coca-Cola Vietnam and Tân Hiệp Phát said steady prices should be ensured. They also said the sugar producers should invest more in packaging that is bigger than the current 50kg-bags to reduce loading and unloading costs.
A representative of Tây Ninh-based Thành Thành Công Trading JSC said sugar quality has improved significantly.
“Our RE (refined extra) already met quality standards, the newly produced RS (refined standards) sugar is very good, but by the end of the season, the latter’s colour and moisture change much. Sugar producers must work to improve this,” she said.
Many suggested that the Government should keep a close eye on sugar imported ostensibly for re-export since it is sold surreptitiously in the domestic market, and prevent smuggling to protect the domestic industry.
Chairman Doanh said the association has suggested to the Government that it should organise auctions for sugar import quotas in the first quarter instead of the third quarter, and only allow import of raw sugar to safeguard local jobs.
The association said enterprises that fail to utilise their import permits should not be allowed to use them later.
Doanh quoted the International Sugar Organisation as saying that in 2016-17 the global sugar market would face a shortage of 6.2 million tonnes, and inventories would shrink to their lowest levels since 2010-11. Therefore, global sugar prices would remain high, he said. -VNS