Japan offers to import brown sugar
Japan has offered to purchase the sugar from the Department of Industrial Crops – under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation – but capping their purchase at 100 tonnes as a trial, he said.
In addition, there are some Japanese traders who directly contacted the Myanmar Sugar and Sugar Related Products Merchants and Manufacturer's Association, U Win Htay added.
As there are possibilities for Myanmar to export sugar to Japan, businesses see it as a way of diversifying its export markets beyond the Chinese one.
“It is the first offer from Japan, but Japan wants products which are free of chemicals. They want natural [organic] brown slab-sugar. Our market has to potential to expand now.
“Japan has not bought our sugar before, but our market can be expanded if Japan does so.
“Additionally, the sugar has to be organic,” U Win Htay said.
Organic brown slab sugar samples will be showcased in the Japanese market, and if Japan likes those samples, Myanmar will persuade cultivators to negotiate an agreement between Myanmar cultivators and buyers from Japan, he said.
China’s government has banned the purchase and sales of Myanmar sugar. The current sugar exports to China have been taking place in the unregulated market. Because of the official ban, sugar cultivators in the country are affected, and Myanmar is having an excess of sugar supply.
The sugar cane season will be arriving soon and sugar refineries will start operations in November. The current rate suggests that cultivators cannot extract a good price.
“As sugar factories will buy sugar based on the current rate, they would be given only about K40,000. And that would make their lives miserable,” said U Win Htay.