TWO YEARS after the European Union launched sugar market reform, Slovakia faces shortages. There has been no shortfall in supplies to shops, but the volume of sugar produced from locally-grown sugar beet no longer covers household and industrial demand. Moreover, the last two domestic sugar producers are facing problems as a result of the rapid fall in sugar beet supplies, the Hospodárske Noviny financial daily reported.
“Some sugar beet producers have been lured by other priorities and more advantageous commodities,” Ivan Kardoš, the head of sugar mill Považský Cukor, told the daily. This year the company wants to produce 68,470 tons of sugar, making full use of its reduced, post-reform quota.
However, the reality is that its sugar mill in Trenčianska Teplá has failed to sign contracts to supply enough sugar beet. The current expectation is that it will produce 15-20 percent less refined sugar. The situation might be saved if there is a very good harvest and high sugar content in the beets.
Považský Cukor wants to keep producing sugar and plans €2.5 million of investments.
The second sugar producer in Slovakia, Slovenské Cukrovary from Sereď, has also confirmed its plans to keep producing sugar. This year it plans to produce 45,500 tons.
This year, Slovak farmers have planted about 11,000 hectares of sugar beet, 40 percent less than last year.
The EU relies on imports of sugar. This year it will have to import at least 4 million tons, the daily wrote.
23. Jun 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff form press reports