6 June 2024

The Ministry of Industry is considering increasing the ex-refinery sugar price by Bt4/kg, as proposed by sugar millers and sugarcane planters to cover increased production costs, and providing subsidies for sugarcane growers, to discourage them from burning their canes and causing significant PM2.5 air pollution.

According to the Sugar and Sugarcane Committee, growers have demanded a Bt120 subsidy for each tonne of sugarcane to be cut in the upcoming harvest, to stop them burning sugarcane – a normal practice in Thailand and abroad to save cost and time during the harvesting. The burning of cane will, however, reduce sugar content and cause air pollution, but it is considered as more economical and less labour intensive than cutting the fresh cane.

The Bt120/tonne subsidy would mean the state spending about 8 billion baht, which would need to be recouped by raising the refined sugar price by 4 baht/kg.

Of the 4 baht/kg increase, half will go to the Sugar and Sugarcane Fund, while the other half will go to the millers to cover the increased production costs, according to the committee.

The current ex-refinery price of ordinary white sugar is currently 19 baht/kg and 20 baht/kg for pure white sugar.

Industry Minister Pimpatra Wichaikul will, however, have the final say on the proposed price increase, said the committee.