Maputo — Sugar production in Mozambique recorded an increase of 24 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the figures from January-June 2011, according to the six monthly balance sheet drawn up by the government's Centre for the Promotion of Agriculture (CEPAGRI).
According to the CEPAGRI figures, cited in Monday's issue of the independent newsheet "Mediafax", the total production from the four functioning sugar mills (at Maragra, Xinavane, Mafambisse and Marromeu) was 102,256 tonnes. More than half of this amount - 53,583 tonnes - was exported, entirely to the European Union. The price for this amount of sugar was 25.5 million US dollars.
Over the six month period, 80,729 tonnes of sugar were sold on the domestic market, which is four per cent lower than in the same period in 2011. The reason for this fall in domestic demand is not yet clear.
Despite the rise in production, Mozambique still imports sugar. This is because the mills do not yet produce enough refined (white) sugar to meet demand. So brown sugar is exported to South Africa, and then white sugar is imported. The total imports of refined sugar in the first half of the year amounted to 7,306 tonnes.
Most sugar production takes place in the second half of the year, and CEPAGRI forecasts that, by the end of the year, the four mills will have produced 470,000 tonnes. That would be a 21 per cent increase on the 2011 figure.
"With the production forecast for 2012, the country will be in a good state to meet the needs of the domestic market, and provide considerable surpluses for export", declared the CEPAGRI document.
Total exports are expected to reach 250,000 tonnes - 13,000 tonnes to the United States and the rest to Europe, bringing in export earnings of 119 million dollars.