Monday, February 14, 2011

Moroccan Local Sugar Harvest Behind Schedule

Here is an article
from Reuters Africa about Morocco not being able to reach targets for internal sugar production. This may be more troublesome than the Feb 20th protests for a country that needs 1.2 million tons of sugar each year. Ya Latif!

Morocco sugar harvest plan behind schedule -Cosumar

* Plan to boost local sugar consumption hits snags

* Morocco imports at least 60 pct of sugar needs

* Cosumar upbeat on 2011 harvest

By Souhail Karam

RABAT, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Morocco's sole sugar refiner, Cosumar (CSMR.CS: Quote), said it had been unable to meet interim targets in a plan to raise the supply of local beet and cane to cover 55 percent of domestic sugar demand by 2013.

In replies to emailed questions, Cosumar blamed bad weather conditions over the previous two campaigns for the potential delay.

"Exceptional events ... (have led to) the loss of farms and have prevented us from achieving the goals set for sugar production from local cultivation, and of which the cover ratio has been at around 36 percent," Cosumar said.

Cosumar, with the support of the Moroccan government, has been investing 3.6 billion dirhams ($434.7 million) to improve farming and processing in an attempt to reach the 55 percent target.

Unprecedented amounts of rainfall over the previous two crop years damaged beet and cane farms, although considerably boosting water resources for a farming activity that relies largely on irrigation.

The annual refined sugar needs of the country of 32 million amount to around 1.2 million tonnes, most of it produced from raw sugar imports from Brazil that are refined by Cosumar.

In 2010, Cosumar's white sugar production from local harvests reached 409,000 tonnes, including 336,000 tonnes from beet and 73,000 tonnes from cane, it added. In previous statements, Cosumar said domestic sugar production in 2009 reached 410,000 tonnes.

Cosumar said its level of white sugar stocks could cover domestic needs until the start of the next local harvest, typically in June or July when sugar concentration in the beet plant hits a peak.

Cosumar also said positive indicators such as rainfall affecting this year's planting led it to expect a promising outcome for the domestic harvest in 2011. It declined to give projections.

Brazil supplied practically 100 percent of Morocco's imported sugar, Cosumar said. (Editing by Jane Baird)

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