With sugar flowing into Myanmar illegally through the border, the price of sugar in the local market has taken a dive, which has sugarcane growers worried.
“At the moment, sugar prices have plunged in the local market due to higher imports of sugar than necessary. If the government supervises this situation, we can proceed with our business. Or, we will have to suspend operations,” said U Ko Ko Latt, who is growing about 100 acres of sugarcane in Tagaung, Mandalay Region.
Sugar is mostly being smuggled into Myanmar from Thailand, and it is being sold for K700 per viss, while locally produced sugar is priced at K900.
Myanmar produces about 500,000 tons of sugar per year, according to the Ayeyar Shweli Sugarcane Farmers Association.
“There should be no smuggling of sugar. We must fight it and we have formed a central committee for preventing illegal trading,” U Myint Lwin, the Director-General of the Consumer Affairs Department, told the media at a press conference held at the sugarcane association in Htigyaing, Sagaing Region, on 21 September.
Sugarcane is being cultivated on about 80,000 acres in four zones in Mandalay Region, Sagaing Region, and Shan State, with annual yield pegged at about 1.5 million tons.
Sugarcane farmers in Htigyaing are facing problems as the price has declined in the current harvest season, according to Daw Sandar Aye, who is cultivating sugarcane on about 500 acres of land in Htigyaing.
The price of sugarcane reached K50,000 per ton in the 2015-2016 harvest season, K45,000 in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, K41,500 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, and is pegged at K39,000 at present, according to the sugarcane farmers association. —Nadi Hlaing
(Translated by Kyaw Zin Lin)