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Vietnam sugar producers call for help
Publication Date : 16-08-2013
The Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association (VSSA) has asked Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to only allow the export of domestically produced sugar in order to help local producers.
In addition, the association has requested a ban on the temporary import and re-export of sugar. The proposal was submitted following forecasts by the Ministry of Industry and Trade that Vietnam would have an inventory of around 200,000 tonnes of sugar this year.
Demand for sugar on the world market has fallen in the context the global downturn, despite abundant supplies, and local producers are struggling to find export markets for their products.
The ministry has authorised additional exports to China to limit losses caused by high inventories and interest rates.
However, several trading companies have applied for temporary import and re-export licences to import raw sugar for refining.
Experts said Vietnam was likely to lose its main export markets after losing a considerable share of the domestic market to smuggled sugar.
In addition, the association has asked the PM to issue policies for short-term sugar reserves because farmers were unable to stockpile sugarcane.
In reality, the sugar industry has reserved sugar for years to regulate supply and demand as production only takes place for six months a year.
Nguyen Thanh Long, the VSSA's chairman, said the urgent issue was to prevent smuggled sugar from entering the country while enhancing exports to increase domestic sugar prices.
Long said the government should develop policies to stabilise prices and prevent speculation which could cause instability for the economy, farmers, businesses and consumers.
Statistics showed that the sugar inventory in June had reached 492,000 tonnes, 179,000 tonnes higher than the same period last year.
The association forecast the 2012-13 sugar crop would yield a record of more than 1.5 million tonnes, while local demand is predicted at 1.3-1.4 million tonnes this year.
Output is projected to reach 2 million tonnes by 2020.