Wooden plate filled with Sugar. Ahram Gate.
The EME has reached agreements with sugar production companies to offer the commodity for sale for food production, distributors and vendors, and packaging companies.
"Trading sugar on the EME will improve pricing efficiency, which means that all parties in the market will have a clear reference for pricing," Medhat Nafei, former advisor to the minister of supply and internal trade, told Ahram Online.
Sugar prices surged by 38.4 percent in July 2023 compared to the same month last year, according to Egypt's latest official inflation data.
"Adding sugar to the commodities market will also improve transparency in the market. To make the best of this, the government should provide incentives and legislation to encourage trading more amounts of sugar on the EME," Nafei stated.
Chairman of the EME Ibrahim Ashmawy said the market is studying putting out more commodities for trade in the coming period. The Egyptian commodities market provides trading services for wheat, barley, cotton, corn, and gold.
The EME was established in January 2020 via a partnership between the Egyptian Exchange, the Internal Trade Development Authority, and the General Authority For Supply Commodities.
"However, trading on a secondary market like the EME will not solve the current shortage in the sugar in the market, which was resulted by prioritizing cultivating wheat over sugarbeet, the main input in most of Egypt's production of sugar," Nafei warned.
He added that to tackle the shortage, the government should ban sugar exports and work on increasing imports.
The Egyptian government applied in March 2023 a three-month ban on all types of sugar exports as a precautionary measure to secure sufficient sugar for domestic consumption.
In 2022, Egypt's production of sugarbeet and sugarcane surged by 17.3 percent to more than 30 million tons, up from 25.062 million tons a year earlier, according to a report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
According to the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2023-2032, Egypt is set to be the largest producer of sugar in Africa by 2032.
"In Egypt, remunerative procurement prices are expected to boost plantings of sugar beet, while efforts are also being made for the adoption of improved seed varieties. Government efforts to boost domestic agricultural production are underway and are projected to contribute to the overall increase in sugarbeet area and crop yields," the report noted.