INDONESIA: Farmers urge government to absorb sugar supplies quickly

Published: 07/11/2018, 3:59:57 PM

The Association of Indonesian Smallholder Sugarcane Farmers has urged the government to promptly buy sugar from local farmers at IDR9,700 (US$0.67)-IDR10,500 per kilogram, as they are holding 700,000 tonnes in stocks, according to Indonesia's Antara News.

The market could not absorb the local sugar due to the import of raw sugar to produce white crystal sugar to meet the demand in both traditional and modern retail markets, the association`s chief patron, Arum Sabil, revealed on Wednesday.

"The market could not absorb it in spite of us being self-reliant in sugar production. This is because white crystal sugar produced from imported raw sugar is circulating in the market. We hope the circulation of white crystal sugar produced from imported raw sugar would be stopped, as it disrupts the supply and demand of local sugar," he emphasized.

Smallholder sugarcane farmers met Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita to urge the national logistics agency (Bulog) to buy the farmers` sugar at the agreed price of IDR9,700 to IDR10,500 per kilogram.

At the meeting, the association also called on the minister to write to the state enterprises minister to respond to their demand. Bulog is expected to buy the farmers` sugar at the agreed price.

It is expected that the trade minister would soon issue a decision, and the farmers` sugar would be absorbed without causing further losses.

"Under the decision, if losses are incurred due to the purchase of the farmers` sugar, it will be borne by the state. The trade minister will first contact the coordinating minister for economic affairs," Sabil noted.

To overcome the issue of the farmers` sugar, the Trade Ministry should synchronize its policy with those of the State Enterprises Ministry and the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, and it is hoped that the plan to absorb the farmers` sugar would soon be realized.

The Trade Ministry has approved the import of 635,000 tonnes of raw sugar to be produced into white crystal sugar or consumption sugar to meet the public`s need.