More and more Hungarian shops are running out of sugar. But what is the reason behind it? Is the sugar industry in Hungary really in crisis?
More and more Hungarian shops are running out of sugar, and in many places, the amount of sugar available for purchase is limited, commented Árpád Dorogi, vice-president of the Sugar Product Council and Interprofessional Organisation. According to the expert, Hungary will not be able to produce even a quarter of domestic consumption this year. The reasons behind the insufficient domestic production are that sugar and sugar beet prices have been unfairly low in recent years, which has led farmers to reduce the area under sugar production year after year. While in 2017, 15,500 hectares of sugar beet were grown for domestic processing, in 2021, only 10,500 hectares were grown, and this year only 8,600 hectares, reports the Hungarian news portal atv. Additionally, the situation has become even worse by the extreme weather conditions, the heatwave, the massive drought and the lack of precipitation experienced this summer. The situation is critical across the country, the greatest fallback can be experienced in the eastern and central parts of the country, but it is not good in the western part of Hungary either.
As a result, we cannot expect a good sugar beet crop this year. According to the expert, there will therefore be little raw material that the domestic sugar producer can process in Kaposvár. This will result that – besides several other foodstuffs – the sugar will also be more expensive in the upcoming period.
According to the expert, Hungary will not be able to produce a quarter of domestic consumption in 2022. But Hungary is not the only country with a sugar deficit. Unfortunately, the phenomenon can be observed all over Europe. Normally, this could even be replaced quite cheaply. But what is more, supply outside Europe has also decreased. Meanwhile, prices have increased significantly, not to mention transport costs and supply problems. Considering all these factors, the trade simply cannot fill the resulting gap in Europe.
According to the expert, apart from reduced supply, the fundamental problem is that we consume more sugar in Hungary than we produce. 300,000 tonnes of sugar are consumed in Hungary every year. However, last year only 80,000 tonnes were produced, and this year the situation will be even worse, as this figure will be reduced to 60,000 tonnes, reports Agrárszektor.
However, Dorogi says that the shortage in shops cannot be explained by the fact that there is less production at home and that supply on the world market has also decreased. The introduction of official sugar prices has also led to losses for traders, who can only sell at a much lower price than the purchase price.
Source: atv.hu, agrarszektor.hu