Why Sugar Became a Rare Commodity

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Sugar has been hard to find in Senegalese stores in recent weeks. And when it becomes available, its price is exorbitant.

It’s the same story every Ramadan. Sugar turned golden again this year. Rare and expensive sugar is the main ingredient feature of Holy Month pastries. The price of a kilogram of powdered sugar rose by more than 15% from 600 francs to 700 francs, and a packet of sugar cubes rose from 1 franc to 000 francs. Above all, sugar is becoming harder and harder to find on store shelves. Missing but can’t find its origin.

On the part of Senegal’s main sugar supplier, the Senegalese Sugar Company (CSS), it is the traders themselves who have created this shortage. Sugar inventories have not declined, according to the government. It’s simply a malfunctioning issue that exists in distribution.The state promises this will be resolved in the next few days.

But for a national federation of Senegalese traders and industrialists, it is the Senegalese sugar companies that are to blame. However, this is due to several factors. The sugar company produces about 135 tons per year. Senegalese consume 000 tons per year. So from the 185 tonnes we have to import every year, there is a gap of 000 tonnes,” explains one of the leaders of the coalition.

CSS and merchants blame each other

Senegal’s actual needs are estimated at 1,000 tonnes per day, while CSS production struggles to exceed 1,000 tonnes per day. But why is it so difficult to flood the market by importing the missing quantities? The Department of Commerce has set an annual sugar import quota of 800 tons. But in 60, for example, he was imported 000 tons to make up for the shortage.

CSS is directly affected by overallocation. Massive imports destabilize the market and trigger a collapse in sugar prices. This undeniably threatens CSS, and as such puts pressure on authorities to ensure that the quota is respected.

The Senegalese National Trade and Commerce Union believes it wants the CSS to have a monopoly on importing, distributing and producing sugar. For several years, rags were burning between the organization and the French company. Notably, CSS imports 30% of its national quota each year, leaving manufacturers with nothing but breadcrumbs.

So CSS and merchants usually blame each other. Still, sugar reaches exorbitant prices when it hits the street stalls. Again, CSS has been accused of being the originator. Last February, the president of the Senegalese Consumers Association saw poor management by the Ministry of Commerce and the hanging of his CSS in a tense market, especially during Ramadan.


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