Indonesians Urged to Curb Sweet Tooth Amid Sugar Shortages

(Bloomberg) -- Sugar mills in Indonesia called on consumers to reduce consumption after shortages pushed retail prices to the highest in almost four years.

Their plea comes as the world’s top sugar buyer faces challenges importing the sweetener due to tight global supplies and countries’ restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, said Yadi Yusriyadi, senior adviser at the Indonesian Sugar Association.

The Southeast Asian nation is trying to boost sugar imports to a record amid lower local supplies and increased demand. However, it buys much of its sugar from Thailand, the world’s second-biggest shipper, where output is falling because of a severe drought. India is eyeing additional sales to Indonesia but is facing logistical problems because of its lockdown.

“We depend highly on imports and the population is continuing to rise,” Yadi said by telephone. “If we don’t try to reduce consumption, the deficit will increase.”

Indonesia’s burgeoning population and growing middle class have caused demand for commodities like sugar to soar, with per capital consumption of the sweetener forecast to jump above 30 kilograms per year from about 23 kilograms now. The country must trim that to below 20 kilograms if it wants to significantly reduce imports, he said.

For more news on Indonesian sugar
  • Some Indonesian Provinces Face Staple Food Shortage: Jokowi
  • World’s Top Sugar Buyer Boosts Imports to Cool Surging Prices
  • Indonesia Sugar Refiners Boost Supply to Cool Surging Prices
  • Indonesia Warns People Against Food Hoarding as Prices Surge
  • The World Is Running Short of Sugar and Top Buyer Wants More

The government has told domestic refiners to speed up their output and ordered those that normally supply only industrial users to sell the sweetener to the local market. It’s also warned of firm action against those who hoard food such as rice and sugar.

Indonesia’s sugar imports may rise to 4.65 million tons in the year that starts in May, from 4.03 million a year earlier, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Services.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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