Friday, August 18, 2017

Sugar Bill making comeback in May

Efforts to table a bill on Myanmar’s sugarcane, sugar and related services, which had been put on hold since 2014, may be revived this May.

Myanmar Sugar & Sugarcane Association deputy chair U Win Htay said they were informed last month that the government was looking into the matter again.

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission and the Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Ministry’s sugar production plants division have plans to table the Sugar Act and enforce laws to boost the industry’s competitiveness, he said.

“The minister has agreed in principle. Reviews will be done to check if the Sugar Act will overlap with existing agricultural laws.

“The government has also asked us for suggestions,” he said.

The bill will, among others, help sugarcane farmers deal with pricing that differ from one area to another.

In the current harvesting season, a metric tonne of sugarcane in some areas fetch K50,000 but in other places, the price is K70,000.

Other items mentioned in the bill, U Win Htay said, include a requirement for sugar factories to produce 6000 tonnes a year.

“The bill covers investment laws, by-product production, electricity generation, negotiations with the Ministry of Electrical Power and Energy on fuel production, and others matters like expenses and rates.

“The things mentioned in the bill are really great,” he said.

Before 2012, Myanmar’s sugar production was under the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. At the time, the country produced 300,000 to 400,000 metric tonnes of sugar a year.

When sugar production was privatised after 2012, the annual production increased between 700,000 and 800,000 tonnes, but due to global sugar prices plunging in 2013 sugarcane cultivation was affected. Last year, production dropped to around 350,000 tonnes.

It is estimated that Myanmar’s sugar consumption is about 500,000 tonnes a year.

Myanmar also exports sugar to China, along with sugar sourced from Thailand and other countries.


Translation by Kyaw Soe Htet