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The Mozambican sugar industry is gaining ground on the domestic market thanks to a decline in the smuggling of sugar from neighbouring countries.

  • This decline in contraband is feeding the hopes of the national industry that it will be able to sell up to 120,000 tonnes of sugar on the domestic market this year.

    According to a report from the Mozambican agriculture ministry, the four functioning Mozambican mills managed to sell 82,286 tonnes of sugar on the domestic market last year, against 19,213 tonnes of recorded imported sugar during the same period. (It is, however, not known how much sugar was imported illegally.) The report shows a 79% growth in sales of nationally produced sugar between 2001 and 2002, thanks to measures to clamp down on contraband and to restrict legal imports of sugar.

    The price of brown sugar in

  • Maputo has stabilised at between MT11,500-13,000 (a little less than 50 US cents) a kilo, while white sugar sells at between MT14,000-16,000 a kilo. These figures seem to imply that there are no longer vast amounts of cheap sugar from neighbouring countries being dumped on the local market, and seriously undercutting the price of the local product. The FOB price of sugar on the “free” international market is currently just US$145 a tonne. Prices for quotas on the “preferential” markets are much higher (between US$418-482 a tonne). But Mozambique’s quotas for the “preferential” European and US markets are relatively small: so most of the sugar that cannot be absorbed by the domestic market has to be sold on the “free” world market.

    Last year Mozambique exported 78,739 tonnes of sugar, which earned the country a total of US$18mn. But over half this figure US$9.9mn came from the sugar sold to the European Union (9,140 tonnes) and to the US (13,248 tonnes).