TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Sugar Association (AGI) has asked Indonesian households to reduce their sugar consumption, as the stock of the commodity is predicted to have a deficit until the end of the year.
An expert from the Indonesian Sugar Association, Yadi Yusriadi, explained that reducing public consumption is one of the solutions to the sugar deficiency problem amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are trying to educate the public to reduce sugar consumption. Like it or not, that's the way to go," Yadi said when contacted by Tempo on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Until the year’s end, Yadi continued, Indonesia will experience a 2.8 to three million tons sugar deficit for consumption sugar, refined sugar, and raw sugar, due to national production failing to equate to national consumption for household and industry.
More specifically, Yadi expects the total consumption of sugar until December 2020 to reach five million tons, while the national sugar production is only expected to reach two to 2.2 tons within the same time period.
Although the 2020 sugar deficit is projected to be lower than the previous year due to the decrease in consumption stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, Yadi acknowledged that the situation remains a problem that must be resolved.
The danger is that entrepreneurs are currently facing difficulties importing sugar from other countries to meet the total national demand for the commodity as a result of the global pandemic.
“With the current COVID-19 situation, it will not be easy for other countries to (export) their sugar. They will also be calculating their needs during these conditions,” he said.
In evidence, Yadi pointed to the difficulties in realizing sugar imports from India. In addition to the Indian government trying to secure the country’s own needs for the commodity, trade to and fro India is also hampered due to the lockdown policy.
Previously, President Joko Widodo had stated that the national stock for a number of commodities will experience a deficit, including sugar. According to President Jokowi, sugar deficit is set to occur across 30 provinces in Indonesia.
“(Do) quick assessments of basic needs of each region; count which provinces are (having) surplus and which are deficits," Jokowi said via teleconference, on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
DEWI NURITA | DIO SUHENDA (INTERN TRANSLATOR)