Mozambique: Drought Will Reduce Sugar Production

Maputo – Sugar production in Mozambique will decline this year because of the drought hitting sugar production areas in the south and centre of the country.

According to Joao Jeque, the executive director of the Mozambican Association of Sugar Producers (APAMO), in 2015 the sector produced 3.3 million tonnes of sugar cane, but the drought guarantees that this amount cannot be produced in the current campaign.

Jeque was speaking on Friday at an international sugar conference in Maputo, which was discussing how to improve the production and marketing of sugar.

He pointed out that, of the 3.3 million tonnes of cane produced last year, between 20 and 24 per cent came from peasant farmers, who sell their cane to the large sugar companies for processing.

“This amount of cane was turned into around 330,000 tonnes of sugar”, said Jeque. “That’s a target we would like to meet again, but with the drought it is clear that we will not be able to meet it”.

Jeque added that a study is now under way to assess the full impact of the drought on sugar production.

In recent years, the four Mozambican sugar mills have produced an average of 450,000 tonnes of sugar a year. Less than 200,000 tonnes is consumed on the domestic market, while the rest is exported.

The European Union is the main market for Mozambican sugar.

Jeque noted that, although the Mozambican sugar industry produces enough to meet all domestic needs, imports of sugar (legal and illegal) are still occurring, and pose a threat to the industry. He hoped that measures taken by the government, such as increasing the import surtax on sugar would reduce imports.

Source: All Africa