Agricultural producers in Serbia have planted sugar beet on about 30,000 hectares of land this year, which is 50% than last year, and depending on the yield, there will be just about enough sugar for domestic needs, but not for export – said Milan Prostran, an agriculture expert.
He told the Beta agency that Serbia has a sugar export quota of 180,000 tonnes in the EU and that Serbia was asked to increase to 220,000 tonnes several years ago, considering that sugar beet was planted on over 100,000 hectares of land.
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Prostran also said that the maximum annual sugar production in Serbia was 700,000 tonnes, which is well above the domestic needs of about 200,000 tonnes.
He added that the situation in the European market has changed since 2015 since the market was liberalized to allow the import of sugar made from sugar cane which is cheaper.
“The sugar beet industry is in a major crisis because producing sugar from sugar cane is much cheaper considering that sugar cane is a perennial plant,” Prostran said.
He went on to say that the conditions for planting sugar beet this year were severe due to drought in March. Sugar beet is specific since it has to be planted during a certain month in order to avoid being diseased with sugar-beet weevil which thrives in higher temperatures.
“The sugar beet industry is in a major crisis and it is quite possible that less sugar beet will be sown which, in turn, means less raw material for five sugar factories in Serbia,“ Prostran concluded.
(Nova Ekonomija, 22.04.2019)
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