Home Latest News St Lucia sugar crisis grows on fears of global food crisis

St Lucia sugar crisis grows on fears of global food crisis

Minister for Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Emma Hippolyte

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia –  In a press release Wednesday, the ministry of commerce, manufacturing, business development, cooperatives and consumer affairs announced that it has been experiencing a shipping delay of brown and refined sugar due to supply chain issues.

According to the ‘update on sugar supplies’ from the minister of commerce, “Global supply chain disruptions are causing consumers to struggle with shortages in a variety of basic goods.”

However, “brown sugar will be available from the Government Supply Warehouse on June 15 and an update will be provided on the regular supply of refined (white) sugar at the soonest.”

The shortages and challenges said the ministry of commerce is precipitated on “… severely impacted due to adverse weather conditions from the source markets.”

It is conceivable that the hurricane season has begun, however, no severe and or adverse weather condition has been registered in the Caribbean to date and the source markets of Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica to register a sufficient magnitude of concern.

Additionally, said the ‘update on sugar supplies’ – “the container shortages, specifically 20ft containers are becoming increasingly difficult to source due to congestion at ports and rising demand.”

While this is a factor in international ports and global markets, the reality in regional ports and regional source markets are quite different. And given the relatively short distance between CARICOM member states, there are other options.

While fears of a global food crisis escalated the Ukrainian and Russian war seems a fallback to many challenges, management issues and deficiencies.

Certainly, the consequences of the war have been felt in many countries, driving up the price of food and availability – since critical global shipments and supply chains have been interrupted.

Other issues

The results, from the survey run by YouGov, suggest that following two years of a pandemic where retailers and suppliers worked closely together and improved their relationships, the pressure from rising prices has strained relationships, and Code-related issues between the two have also risen.

A number of other issues were also raised by suppliers, including:

  • Delays in payments: 12 percent of suppliers raised delays in or not receiving payment when there are disagreements about deliveries (up from 8% in 2021).
  • Invoice discrepancies: 18 percent of suppliers highlighted that processes and procedures in place to enable invoice discrepancies to be resolved promptly were inadequate (up from 14% in 2021).
  • Forecasting errors: 18 percent of suppliers said they had been affected by incurring significant costs because of inaccurate forecasting by retailers (up from 16% in 2021).

Next steps

The concern is such that economic and management pressures have impaired relationships and created wider problems. And the plea for “patience in challenging times” is incompatible for use as pacifiers to basic communities in a country rich in the natural resource of the land, once the bread basket of the Caribbean.

The government of Saint Lucia may very well consider a review of state control enterprises in particular the supply of basic commodities, that have become “very complicated” relative to modern business tools, contingency planning and requisite skills beyond the political apparatus. In addition, there are difficulties that developing countries face providing for their people.

“Food insecurity and high prices can become a trigger for instability,” said Qu Dongyu, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.  Addressing the “Mediterranean Dialogue on Food Crisis” in Rome, Qu insisted that “we must keep the global food trade system open and ensure that agrifood exports are not restricted or taxed”.

The repeated declarations to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine and Russia – weaponizing the surroundings with incompetence and inaction, cannot be trusted.



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