Defara Dhanya Paramitha (Bisnis), Jakarta – The official recommendation issued by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs which green lights the imports of 500,000 tons of sugar raised a few questions, notably from stakeholders in the industry.
The chairperson of the Indonesian Sugar Cane Farmers Association (APTRI) Soemitro Samadikun raised this question as he believes the domestic supply of sugar is currently in abundance.
One of the reasons behind the sugar import plan is that the government estimates that the domestic sugar supply will amount to 880,000 tons.
"Today, the Coordinating Minister has issued another request for an import recommendation amounting to 500,000 tons of sugar," said Soemitro on October 26.
He reminded the seminar audience that the sugar supplies at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022 were 1.1 million tons. "It's still fresh in our minds that the government imported 980,000 tons of raw sugar and 150,000 tons of white sugar," he said.
Due to this fact, he believes the total sugar supplies – added to the supply from the end of 2021 – actually amount to 2.2 million tons. Add the national production of 2.4 million tons and the total national supply amounts to 4.6 million tons, which he said contradicts the government's 880,000 tons of sugar supply contained in the letter.
With the national sugar consumption reaching an annual 3 million tons, this means that there is still a surplus of 1.6 million tons of sugar.
"Why does the letter state that the prediction for our remaining sugar is 880,000 [tons]? Just this itself shows [contradiction]. We were not invited to discuss that matter," said Soemitro.
According to him, if the government wants to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar, the first thing to do is to improve the balance of sugar consumption and industry. Sugar self-sufficiency must also be assigned to all policymakers in the national sugar sector.