El Salvador plans to produce 800,000 metric tons of sugar in the new harvest

In the 2021–2022 harvest, the sugar sector managed to place 525,000 metric tons of sugar and 220,000 metric tons of molasses in international markets, according to data from the Sugar Association of El Salvador.

Regarding production, expectations remain similar to the 2021–2022 harvest, when 821,000 metric tons of sugar were reached, from a harvest of 6.8 million metric tons of cane.

Julio Arroyo, executive director of the union, estimates that for the new 2022–2023 harvest, which is about to begin, there will be a similar production, that is, that 800,000 metric tons of sugar will be reached.

He also said that the area to be harvested will be the same as the previous year, that is, 79,000 hectares.

Regarding sales in the different international markets, he explained that, in percentage terms, this industry exports 65% of all the sugar produced in the harvest and 85% of the molasses production each year.

Of these amounts, sold to more than 25 countries around the world, the sector generates a total of $240 million in foreign exchange. The main export destinations are the United States, various countries in Asia, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, he said.

He also explained that the country sells different qualities of sugar, including raw and in bulk, which is a raw material for refineries around the world; and also refined and brown, in bags of different presentations, ready for the consumer.

The country also exports molasses in bulk, which is in demand in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean for the production of alcohol or to prepare concentrates for animals.

Regarding international prices, the union considers that they have stabilized in a range of $0.18 to $0.20 per pound.

 “It is important to point out that these prices are reference prices for raw sugar in bulk, not suitable for human consumption, placed at the dispatch port of the producing country. To these prices are added the costs of land transportation, maritime freight, insurance, storage, processing, packaging, distribution costs, margins of the distribution chain, and value-added taxes of each country, “explained Arroyo.

According to the union, these prices have helped the country’s producers and mills to cope with the increases in production costs generated by international factors, such as the increase in prices of fertilizers, raw materials, factory inputs, machinery, and equipment.

He also noted that sugar prices have remained at these levels, in part because the world has faced years of production deficits.