Arrival of imported sugar may be late

Surabaya, East Java (Antara News) - The arrival of imported sugar scheduled in the middle of this month was expected to be slightly late due to the drastically-changing weather in the past two weeks, Associate Corporate Secretary of state plantation company PT Perkebunan Nusantara XI, Adig Suwandi, said.

The late arrival of the imported sugar would not affect the existing sugar stock at home, Suwandi said here Monday.

The government had issued a permit to import 200,000 tons of sugar consisting of 40,000 tons to PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia (an Indonesian trade company) and 160,000 tons to four registered importers whose products contained at least 75 percent of sugar cane as their raw material.

According to Suwandi, the sugar import was expected to meet the need of sugar consumption till the first week of May, 2007, when most sugar factories in Java start milling sugar.

He further said that the Indonesian Sugar Council should collect data on sugar stocks and draw up sugar balance for the trade minister to make a decision on additional sugar stock.

"If refined sugar is forced to go to the market, it would trigger a resistance from sugar cane growers as recently a number of refined sugar factories have received the facility of free import duty," he said.

The refined sugar production was predicted to reach about 1.2 million tons while food and beverage industries did not absorb the commodity to that quantity.

The food and beverage industries preferred imported sugar due to the better quality and prices. More than 300,000 tons of refined sugar was imported.

Suwandi said the refined sugar factories should introspect over the quality of their products, especially those with grade-3 quality to the market of sugar for consumption.

"The entry of refined sugar to the consumption sugar market would bring about a drop in the price of local sugar during the milling time. The producers of refined sugar could sell the commodity with lower prices due to the facility given by the government," he said. (*)
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