The total inventory of sugar stored in factories throughout Vietnam amounted to 280,000 tonnes on September 15 this year, 58,690 tonnes more than last year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Domestic sugar producers’ monthly sales reached 50,000–60,000 tonnes, much lower than the average of 140,000 tonnes sold in 2013, MARD’s Department of Processing and Trade for Agriculture-Forestry-Fisheries and Salt Production reported.

Although domestic sales increased to 92,000 tonnes during a month from mid August, the figure still falls short of the same period last year’s figures by 10,000 tonnes, the department said.

Chairman of the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association (VSSA) Nguyen Thanh Long attributed the situation to sugar smuggling, which is posing a challenge for domestic firms.

Meanwhile, Bui Thi Quy, Director General of the Con Long My Phat Company, said the Government has allowed some domestic factories to import as much as 70,000 tonnes of sugar, contributing to harming the domestic enterprises.

Long explained that the decline in sales is partly a result of Vietnam ’s commitments to the World Trade Organisation. The VSSA leader proposed the country seek suitable measures to ensure equality.

Regarding the control of illegally imported sugar, Long asserted that it is was necessary to address the shortcomings of the licence granting procedure for sugar producers and traders by strictly verifying their capacities.

In reality, many enterprises were abusing their licence and selling sugar illegally, he added.

On top of this, improving sugar producers’ access to capital and bank loans was crucial for their development and future existence, he concluded.-VNA