The rise in the benchmark prices for sugar imports will only help protect Mozambique’s sugar industry if they are combined with additional measures to increase the competitiveness of the sector, according to a study issued Tuesday in Maputo.
On 8 August the government decided, with immediate effect, to increase benchmark sugar import prices from US$385 to US$806 per ton for brown sugar, and from US$450 to US$932 per ton for refined (white) sugar.
With this measure, the government seeks to discourage the entry of large amounts of sugar from neighbouring countries where production and export are highly subsidised, causing unfair competition with the Mozambican industry, which is still in a recovery phase.
Commissioned by the Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique (CTA), the Mozambican employers’ association, with funding from US development agency USAID, the study said the country will need to invest in transport infrastructure to facilitate transport of the product internally.
Cited by daily newspaper Notícias, Peter Kegod, a consultant who presented the study, also mentioned the importance of diversification of the export market, as in the next few years placing sugar in the European Union market may not be as advantageous as it is now.
Kegod said it was important that Mozambique start looking at the markets of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to export sugar produced in the country as well as selling it domestically.
The sugar industry in Mozambique currently employs around 30,000 people, with some population clusters, which are heavily dependent on the sugar economy. (macauhub/MZ)