It looks like the bittersweet sugar shortage may come to an end as Al Nouran plans to build the region's largest sugar plant, while Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issues a decree exempting sugar from custom duties.
Although there’s a variety of shortages gripping Egypt, nothing is as bittersweet as the current shortage of sugar. Looking to capitalise and remedy the sugar deficit, Egypt-based Al Nouran Sugar has announced a $360 million plan to build the largest sugar plant in the MENA region.
Every year Egyptians consume more sugar than they produce, with the decision to float the pound causing imports to skyrocket and creating a shortage. The massive new plant is slated to begin the first of four production lines of 14,000-tonnes beet per day by spring 2017.
The plant will be constructed on 1.8 million m2 in the Al Sharkiya governorate and according to CEO Ashraf Mahmoud, “Our plant will reduce Egypt's reliance of imported sugar by up to 25 percent from the first production line. Additionally, that figure will reach 100 percent with the completion of our fourth line. This is unprecedented both in Egypt and the region.”
Once fully operational Al Nouran will solidify their position as the regional leader and will also be looking to expand into other sugar integrated industries such as producing bioethanol from molasses as well as high-value products like yeast and vinegar.
Although this massive plant should help remedy the sugar shortage in the future, in the meantime Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issued on Friday a decree exempting white sugar from customs duties starting from November 2016 until May 2017, which seems to coincide with when Al Nouran expects to have their first production line operational.