This year, sugar worldwide has reached its highest price level since 2011, due to unfavorable weather conditions in India and Thailand, two major sugar exporters. This increase has devastating consequences for developing countries that are already struggling with food shortages and trade restrictions.
Global sugar production is expected to decline by 2% in the 2023-24 season, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This equates to a loss of approximately 3.5 million tons. With the growing use of sugar for biofuels, global sugar stocks are reaching their lowest level since 2009.
While Brazil may be able to help fill the shortages in 2024, import-dependent countries, especially in Africa, remain vulnerable. This creates an urgent challenge for countries like Nigeria. The country imports 98% of its raw sugar. The situation is further complicated by the refined sugar import ban introduced in 2021.
The impact of the El Niño climate phenomenon is clearly noticeable in India. Here, severe drought is an example of how it is hampering sugarcane production in Maharashtra. As the world’s largest sugar consumer, India even limits sugar exports.
With less than 68 days of sugar supply worldwide, compared to 106 days in 2020, experts warn of increasing pressure. Indonesia is cutting sugar imports, and China is having to release its supplies for the first time in six years.
In Africa, where sugar is a staple food, countries like Kenya are experiencing significant declines in local sugar production. This leads to an increase in dependence on imports, with consequences for the local economy. In Nigeria, for example, bakers have increased bread prices by 15% due to rising costs, leading to food insecurity for some households. For the Nigerian Bakers Association it is clear: “You cannot buy high and sell low.”
Price of sugar at its highest level in twelve years
Candy, chocolate and cookies suddenly become more than 10 percent more expensive, why is that? (+)
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