EGYPT – Merchants in Egypt have been issued with a 10-day ultimatum to adjust sugar prices failure to which the government warned of forced pricing measures. 

While addressing people at the third Nebu Gold Expo in Cairo, Egypt’s minister of supply and internal trade, Ali Moselhi, called on merchants to heed to the 10-day period to review their prices before the government resorts to advanced regulatory measures. 

He emphasized that the country’s strategic sugar reserves were sufficient to meet the country’s demand for up to five and a half months. 

“The Supply Ministry will not flood the market with sugar in an attempt to preserve the strategic reserve,” he assured. 

According to research by Statista, the total domestic sugar consumption in Egypt for the sugar marketing year 2021/2022 amounted to 3.43 million metric tons. Compared to 2020/2021, this was an increase from 3.34 million metric tons. 

Moreover, it was forecast that in 2022/2023, domestic sugar consumption in the country will increase further, reaching 3.49 million metric tons. 

A 2.4 percent increase or 80,000 MT is expected in the 2023/24 market year to reach 3.77 MMT, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The US agency attributes the rise in sugar consumption to population growth, estimated at 2.4 percent per annum and the expansion of the confectionary food products sector. 

Over the past month, sugar prices have recorded an alarming increase causing widespread concerns, a kilogram of sugar exceeding EGP 39 in the market as vendors increase their inventory. 

To regulate further increase in the sugar prices, the government applied a three-month ban on all sugar exports in March, except for excess production, followed by another three-month ban in September. 

Egypt is currently working on increasing its agricultural production through a land reclamation programme aimed at restoring 3.5 million feddan. 

This year, Egypt cultivated 620,000 feddans of sugar beets, adding nearly 10,000 feddans on 2022. 

In March, Egypt raised earning prices for the current season’s local sugar beets by 75 pounds per ton to encourage farmers to cultivate more.