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USDA GAIN: Oilseeds, Cotton, Sugar, Grain and Feed


03 May 2012

USDA GAIN: Egypt Sugar Annual Report 2012USDA GAIN: Egypt Sugar Annual Report 2012

In 2012/2013 total sugar imports are forecast at 1,150 TMT compared to 1,430 TMT in MY 2011/2012. The decrease in imports is due to relatively high 2011/2012 ending stocks totaling 350 TMT. Consumption is expected to increase to 2,950 TMT based largely on population growth.
USDA GAIN Report - Oilseeds, Cotton, Sugar, Grain and Feed

Commodities:

Sugar

Area Planted

Cane: Total cane area harvested for centrifugal sugar in 2012/2013 is forecast at 112,000 HA, unchanged from the previous year. Government’s sources are expecting no increase in total cane area planted for the coming five years due to Government’s policy to encourage farmers to grow beet over cane to conserve water. Cane is the main source for refined sugar. It is also the main source for molasses industry and the by-products from crushing are used as raw materials in the plywood and paper pulp industries. Cane is cultivated in Upper Egypt in a narrow strip on both banks of the Nile River. Cane is planted in two seasons the spring season and the autumn season. Spring season planting starts during February and March while autumn season planting starts during September and October. The crop takes 11 to 12 months to grow and sources estimate that one month on average is needed to harvest 16,000 fedan (6,720 HA).

Beet: Total beet area harvested for 2012/2013 is forecast at 148,000 HA compared to 146,000 HA in the previous year. Beet is a relatively new crop in Egypt, as cultivation began in 1982, predominately in the Delta area. The government’s aim is to increase the area planted and yield of beet due to the fact that it is less water consuming than cane and Egypt is currently facing limitations on water resources. Beets are planted in August and September and harvested in March. By-products from the refining process of beet are used to produce animal feeds.

Production

In MY 2012/2013, total raw sugar production is forecast at 2,010 TMT compared to 1,980 TMT in previous year. Raw sugar production from cane and beet is forecast at 1,100 TMT and 910 TMT respectively. The expected slight increase in production is due to the increase in sugar cane utilized for centrifugal sugar, rather than for juice and direct consumption. Farmers will act favorably to the increase in prices offered by the state-owned processors which is expected to increase next year. Cane processing is monopolized by the public sector Sugar and Integrated Industries Company (SIIC), which is responsible for providing white sugar to the ration card suppliers. Beet processing is handled through five different processors that each cover different provinces (see table 1 below). It is expected that in one year a new beet processor, Alexandria Sugar, will commence operations with an expected production capacity of 120-140 TMT.

There is almost one million ton gap between consumption and production every year. The Government is trying to bridge this gap by vertical expansion of the cane crop to increase the productivity per fedan and horizontal and vertical expansion of the beet crop by increasing the area planted and productivity.

Sources estimate that one ton of cane from the farm to the refiner costs the farmer LE 200 ($1= LE 6.02) and the Government buys the ton from farmers at LE 335. So, farmers are making profits equal to LE 135 which is the difference between the actual cost and the government’s price. Sources also indicate that beet farmers are making more profits than cane farmers due to two different reasons. First, Cane crop is sold by its weight rather than its sugar content. Cane farmers prefer to sell their crops based on its weight not its sugar content. However, beet farmers sell their crop according to its sugar content.

Beet farmers receive additional payments equal to LE 27/ton for normal sugar content and LE 54 per ton for higher sugar content. These additional payments are added to the basic price per ton. Second, sugar processors usually encourage beet farmers to sell their crops earlier in the harvest season. Delivering the beet crops during the first 10 days of the refining process earns an added payment of LE100/ton which decreases by LE10 each 10 days thereafter.

Consumption

Sugar consumption is forecast at 2,950 TMT for the MY 2012/2013 compared to 2,850 TMT for the MY 2011/2012. Sugar consumption is driven by population growth which is increasing by 1.5 million people every year. White sugar is part of the ration card system under which the GOE provides a sugar ration to over 60 million of the 85 million Egyptian at low prices.

The GOE is also selling white sugar at the state-owned cooperative stores at reasonable prices that are less than market prices. White sugar prices are very volatile and sensitive in Egypt. Consumer prices for white sugar range from LE 5/kg to LE 7.5/kg while white sugar purchased under the ration card is LE 1.25/kg.

Trade:

Egypt is bridging the gap between consumption and production through imports. Total imports are forecast to decrease in MY 2012/2013 at 1,150 TMT compared to 1,480 TMT in the previous year. The decrease in imports is due to the country’s reserve ending stocks from the previous year that was 350 TMT. In MY 2011/2012 total imports has increased significantly at 1,480 TMT compared to 1,120 TMT in the previous year. This increase was due to the low ending stocks from the previous year that recorded 129 TMT. The current import tariff for white sugar and raw sugar are 10 and 2 percent respectively.

Stocks:

For 2012/2013, ending stocks are forecast at 160 TMT compared to 350 TMT in previous year. The GOE targets a level of strategic sugar stocks equal to at least 60 days of total consumption, or approximately 500 TMT, but often is not successful in achieving this level. Stocks are allowed to decline at the end of the marketing year, anticipating the new harvest.

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