Sugar shortage in Saint Lucia
Global supply chain disruptions are causing consumers to struggle with shortages in a variety of basic goods in Saint Lucia, including sugar.

The Caribbean News Global (CNG) is reporting that there has been a shipping delay of brown and refined sugar in St Lucia due to supply chain issues.

According to the ‘update on sugar supplies’ from the minister of commerce, CNG Media noted that “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 ministry of commerce said the shortages and challenges were “… severely impacted due to adverse weather conditions from the source markets.”

CNG Media has further noted that while the hurricane season has begun, no severe and/or adverse weather condition has been registered in the Caribbean to date; therefore, there is no magnitude of concern in the source markets of Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica.

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

Other issues

CNG Media disclosed that 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 per cent of suppliers raised delays in or not receiving payment when there are disagreements about deliveries (up from eight per cent in 2021).

Invoice discrepancies: 18 per cent of suppliers highlighted that processes and procedures in place to enable invoice discrepancies to be resolved promptly were inadequate (up from 14 per cent in 2021).

Forecasting errors: 18 per cent of suppliers said they had been affected by incurring significant costs because of inaccurate forecasting by retailers (up from 16 per cent 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 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.”

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