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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     7 November  2011

Sugar production falls in Indonesia
White sugar production in Indonesia will fall well below a government target set earlier in the year, causing a potential shortage in 2012, the agriculture ministry says.

The ministry estimates the country’s sugar plantations will produce about 2.3 million tons of white sugar this year, up from 2.2 million tons in 2010, but significantly lower than the 2.7 million tons predicted.

It said this was due to a long, hot dry season that stunted efforts to boost production.

If the figures are accurate, it will make it harder for the country to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar by 2014, a goal of the Yudhoyono administration.

“Our white sugar output in 2011 increased slightly by around 100,000 tons, due  mainly to climate change. A long dry season with higher temperatures has halted our white sugar production acceleration program,” Agriculture Minister Suswono told reporters on Friday.

The ministry said there is slightly more than three months worth of sugar in reserve storage, about 750,000 tons.

This could cause a shortage of sugar in the first five months of 2012, when no sugar is produced domestically, he said.

“That’s why there will be a white sugar shortage of around 270,000 tons that has to be fulfilled by imports,” said Faruk Bakri, chairman of the Indonesia Sugar Association.

“Flooding in Thailand, the second biggest sugar exporter in the world, could pressure global sugar prices upwards.”

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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