Work Programme

Year 2022 Draft MECAS Work Program


Introduction

The Executive Director proposes to conduct a programme of work for the Market Evaluation, Consumption and Statistics Committee (MECAS) as presented in this document for the year 2022.[1] The MECAS program is undertaken in addition to the Secretariat’s substantial regular commitments (see Annex 1 and 2).

There are six key components to MECAS activities, including:

  • The Quarterly Market Outlook;
  • The Monthly Market Report;
  • ISO studies;
  • ISO Sugar Yearbook;
  • World Sugar Balances;
  • ISO Ethanol Yearbook; and
  • On-going monitoring of specific issues.

Activities proposed during 2022 for each of these components are presented below.

Quarterly Market Outlook

The Quarterly Market Outlook (one issue each quarter) provides analysis of recent and expected trends, developments and issues in macro-economic drivers and in the world sugar, alternative sweeteners, and molasses markets, as well as in the sugar-crop based renewable energy markets (fuel ethanol, cogeneration). Recent developments in the fermentation-based bioplastics/biochemicals are analysed and updates and commentary on the WTO negotiations on Agriculture and on Regional Trade Agreements are also provided. Each issue provides timely analysis and review of:

  • world sugar price behaviour;
  • consumption, production, trade and stocks of sugar, alternative sweeteners and their feedstocks and molasses;
  • consumption, production and trade in ethanol, developments in national fuel ethanol programmes, as well as ethanol feedstock price developments;
  • futures market and currency update
  • movements in domestic prices for sugar and ethanol;
  • national sugar policy developments (twice yearly);
  • trade developments;
  • the world sugar balance including individual estimates for 160 countries;
  • white and raw sugar trade balances;
  • quarterly world sugar balances;
  • in-depth analysis of a focal issue (Special Focus section);
  • the price dynamics of other commodity markets;
  • fermentation-based bioplastics and biochemicals;
  • cogeneration; and
  • the WTO Negotiations on Agriculture and Regional Trade Agreements.

The content of the Quarterly Market Outlook will be a focus of attention at the twice yearly MECAS Meetings, along with the ISO studies.

Monthly Market Report

The Monthly Market Report provides market information for the previous month covering all the important sugar and ethanol market developments during the previous month (including information on world sugar market – conditions & prospects, country summaries, new sugar production projects, fuel ethanol in key players, alternative sweeteners & other uses of sugar or sugar cane & beet, fermentation-based bioplastics and biochemicals, cogeneration, WTO and regional trade agreements, as well as ISO news).

ISO Studies

The ISO Secretariat has adopted the target of preparing six studies in 2022, consistent with our expected resource level (as discussed later).

Selection of Studies

ISO studies are prepared to meet two key outcomes crucial to the achievement of our strategic direction:

  • Members benefit from improved transparency in world sugar trade; and
  • Members are fully informed about key drivers and emerging issues impacting the world sugar, sweeteners, renewable energy (fuel ethanol and cogeneration), bioplastics/biochemicals and related markets.

All the proposed study topics for 2022 are consistent with the ISO’s Strategic Direction.

ISO studies are aimed at providing members with objective, factual, professional and timely assessments of developments relating to the key drivers impacting the global markets for sugar, sweeteners, fuel ethanol, sugarcane-based electricity generation, fermentation-based bioplastics/biochemicals and related commodities.

Each year the ISO Secretariat also consults with members in devising the priority listing of research topics, which for 2022 are given in Annex 3.

At each MECAS meeting, the studies to be undertaken from this list for the upcoming MECAS meeting will be discussed. This approach is taken because the sugar, sweeteners, and sugar-crop based renewable energy markets are dynamic and developments are often unforeseeable over the medium term. The approach also ensures that the ISO does not lock itself into research topics which may become no longer relevant.

ISO Sugar Yearbook

This yearbook provides comprehensive coverage of sugar production, consumption, trade and stocks for the whole world (about 350 pages, nearly 325 country tables).  Individual country tables show production, consumption and trade by countries of origin and destination for the last eight years. 18 world tables including raw and white sugar trade and per capita consumption. The most complete, authoritative and up to date source of world sugar statistics available. 

ISO Ethanol Yearbook

The ethanol yearbook offers around 100 pages of both comprehensive statistics and in-depth analysis of the world fuel ethanol market.  The yearbook includes data on world fuel ethanol production, consumption and trade as well as individual national balances with data series on production, import, export, consumption, stocks and prices for key countries.

On-going monitoring of specific issues

The ISO also maintains a watching brief on specific issues on an on-going basis, reporting relevant information, in a variety of formats, to members as they arise, and as resources allow, including:

 (a)    Sugar, Human Health and Nutrition

  • To survey, review and disseminate information evaluating the nutritional and health aspects of sugar, with a view to reducing public prejudice against sugar, facilitating promotion of consumption.
  • To disseminate information regarding proposed and announced sugar taxes and other fiscal and policy measures against sugar.
  • To provide members with up-to-date information in conjunction with relevant WHO activities.
  • To provide members with current information on taxes on sugar-containing products.
  • To provide members with worldwide trends in per capita sugar consumption in the context of calorie intake and health issues.

(b)     Sugar and the Environment

  • To monitor environmental issues and their possible impacts on the sugar industries of member countries.

(c)     Sugar and Sustainable Development

  • To update, report and promote the abilities of the sugar industry as a vehicle for sustainable development.

(d)     Standardisation and Certification

  • To monitor and review sugar as well as beet and cane derived products certified to have been produced in a socially and environmentally sustainable way.

Resource Availability and Requirements

Professional staff time available including the three economists during 2022 is 138 weeks – as shown in the table below. Of this total, 32 weeks are anticipated to be required to effectively execute regular non-MECAS activities (see below together with annex 1 for a description of these activities). At 106 weeks, human resources available for MECAS activities in 2022 are the same as in previous years.


Activity

Person Weeks

MECAS

106

Quarterly Market Outlook

31

Monthly Market Report

6

ISO Studies

48

On-going monitoring

3

ISO Sugar Yearbook

10

ISO Ethanol Yearbook

8

Other Commitments and Activities

32

TOTAL

138


Annex 1 - Regular Commitments 2022

Activity
 
Objective
 
Output
 
Timing of Release
 
Sugar Statistics
To compile exhaustive, accurate statistics on key economic variables in the world sugar economy and to disseminate such data on a timely basis.
ISO Sugar Yearbook.
Monthly Statistical Bulletin.
August (online)
September (hard copy)
Around the 5th day of each month (statistics relating to the previous month)
Sugar Market Monitoring and Analysis
To conduct timely, objective, relevant analyses of economic developments and trends in the world sugar trade, and to widely disseminate this market information.
Quarterly Market Outlook.
Monthly Market Report
February, May, August, November.
Around the 5th day of each month
(information relating to the previous month)
Ethanol market and national fuel ethanol programs monitoring and analysis
To conduct timely, objective, and relevant analyses of trends and developments in ethanol production, consumption, trade and national support policy, and to widely disseminate this market information.
Quarterly Market Outlook.
Monthly Market Report
February, May, August, November
Around the 5th day of each month
(information relating to the previous month)
Ethanol Statistics
To compile exhaustive, accurate statistics on key economic variables in the world ethanol economy.
To provide a written assessment of the outlook for ethanol production, consumption over the coming decade.
To disseminate such data and analysis on a timely basis.
ISO Ethanol Yearbook.
September
Analysis of related issues and markets
To conduct timely and relevant analysis of currency moments, domestic prices, related markets and commodities and to widely disseminate this information
Quarterly Market Outlook.
Monthly Market Report
February, May, August, November
Around the 5th day of each month
(information relating to the previous month)
Analysis of the molasses markets
To conduct timely and relevant analysis of molasses output, prices, tradeflows and review its use in a broad spectrum of applications, including fermentation and animal feed.
Quarterly Market Outlook.
Monthly Market Report
February, May, August, November
Around the 5th day of each month
(information relating to the previous month)
Alternative Sweeteners & By-products monitoring and analysis
-  High Fructose Corn Sweetener    
-  Intensive Sweeteners
-  Molasses
To conduct timely, objective, relevant analyses of economic developments and trends in the world markets for alternative sweeteners and molasses, and to widely disseminate this market information.
Quarterly Market Outlook.
Monthly Market Report
February, May, August, November
Around the 5th day of each month
(information relating to the previous month)
Bioplastics/biochemicals and cogeneration
To conduct timely, objective, relevant analyses of the developments and trends in the bioplastics/biochemicals and cogeneration sectors world-wide, and to widely disseminate this information.
Quarterly Market Outlook.
February, May, August, November
In-depth analysis of a focal market issues
To provide a thorough assessment of key evolving economic drivers in the sugar/ethanol markets not covered by the ISO MECAS studies.
Quarterly Market Outlook: Special Focus
February, May, August, November
WTO/RTA/FTA monitoring and analysis
To conduct timely, objective, relevant analyses of the WTO negotiations on agriculture and progress of Regional Trade Agreements and Free Trade Agreements and to widely disseminate this market information.
Quarterly Market Outlook.
Monthly Market Report.
February, May, August, November
Around the 5th day of each month
(information relating to the previous month)
ISO Seminar and Workshop
To conduct a seminar and workshop each year addressing relevant and important issues in the world sugar trade and related matters.
ISO Seminar and proceedings.
ISO Workshop and proceedings.
December (online)
June (online)
MECAS Meetings
To provide new economic information about global markets for sugar, sweeteners, fuel ethanol and bagasse-based electricity generation as well as emerging diversification opportunities such as bioplastics and biochemicals.
MECAS Meetings and MECAS Papers.
May/June and November/December, in conjunction with International Sugar Council Sessions


Other Activities for 2022

Activity
 
Objective
 
Output
 
Timing
 
Database maintenance/enhancement
To ensure software and programming support for the efficient collation of statistics and the production of publication-ready tables.
Contributes to production of ISO Yearbooks and Monthly Statistical Bulletin.
As required.
Joint Events:
Planning, organisation and execution.
To prominently position the ISO and increase its visibility.
To strengthen the ISO’s image and reputation as the worldwide recognised centre of excellence
As required.
Preparation of papers/speeches for major international fora
Constructive participation and contributions to world sugar and ethanol related fora.
Wide dissemination of ISO studies and statistics.
ISO papers and speeches.
As required/invited.
General matters, administration, information requests
To ensure efficient and effective operation of the ISO Secretariat and the ISA’92.
Meet provisions of the ISA’92.
As required.


Annex 2: Summary of Planned Publications: 2022

Publication
 
J
 
F
 
M
 
A
 
M
 
J
 
J
 
A
 
S
 
O
 
N
 
D
ISO Sugar Yearbook 2022








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ISO Ethanol Yearbook 2022








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Monthly Market Report
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·
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·
·
·
·
Quarterly Market Outlook

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World Sugar Balances

·


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Statistical Bulletin
·
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·
·
·
·
·
·
·
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Workshop Proceedings 2022





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Seminar Proceedings 2022











·
ISO study 1




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ISO study 2




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ISO study 3




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ISO study 4










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ISO study 5










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ISO study 6










·

ISO Work Programme: 2023










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Annex 3: Proposed Topics for ISO Studies in 2022

Project Number

Title

Objective

Explanatory Notes

Minimum Person Weeks

2022/1
Update on Foreign Direct Investment and Mergers & Acquisitions in the World Sugar Industry
Following on from a 2016 MECAS study, this
paper will re-examine foreign direct investment and mergers and acquisitions in the world sugar industry. The study will provide a comprehensive
stocktaking of activities over the last five
years, looking at the drivers, the parties and
specific details of transactions across all
regions.
Low asset values have opened opportunities for foreign investments and mergers and acquisitions across the world sugar sector. Meanwhile, existing producers continue to integrate operations, horizontally and vertically, to rationalize costs and boost margins.

8

2022/2
 
Food Systems – A Sugar Perspective
To learn from the UN drive towards global food systems transformations in order to achieve Social Development Goals by 2030. In the study, food systems will be described and analysed from a sugar perspective, investigating the supply chain from agriculture, processing, to food production, distribution and consumer behaviour.
This new field of food policy has been explored extensively in recent years, with the City University of London at the forefront of some of the analysis. This study will give a sugar perspective to some of the structures that have been established through academic work.

8

2022/3
 
  • Alternative Sweeteners Reassessed
To examine how market trends and technology developments for alternative sweeteners can impact consumption growth prospects for sugar. The scope includes the key caloric alternative to sugar – high fructose sugar, synthetic/chemical sweeteners - including saccharin, cyclamate, aspartame and acesulfame-K, as well as second generation artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, neotame and advantame; as well as key “Natural” high intensity sweeteners (derived from sources such as leaves, berries and fruits) such as stevia sweeteners, Luo Han Guo and sweet proteins (such as Thaumatin).
This study provides an update to the ISO’s study on sugar substitutes in 2017. In the intervening period the backlash against sugar has continued with government’s imposing sugar taxes, while beverage and food manufacturers reformulate towards lower sugar content and lite offerings using low and high intensity sweeteners. Higher-quality stevia sweeteners are now the norm, with major producers having honed technology to extract rarer, but better quality, steviol glycosides. Start -ups using new technology platforms are commercialising “natural” rare sugars such as allulose and brazzein at lower cost. Meanwhile, global HFCS offtake has flatlined, driven mainly by declining sales of CSD in the US, whilst in Asia – the centre for HFCS growth, higher corn cost has slowed demand, especially in China.

8

Project Number
Title
Objective
Explanatory Notes

Minimum Person Weeks

2022/4
 
 
  • Climate-Smart-Agriculture (CSA) and the Sugar Sector
To understand examples of the CSA approach in local contexts and how they are currently being implemented both on-farm and beyond the farm, incorporating technologies, policies, institutions, and investment.
Climate smart agriculture is an approach to help people who manage agricultural systems respond effectively to climate change. It pursues sustainable increases to productivity and incomes, adapting to climate change and reducing emissions where possible.

8

2022/5
 
  • Thailand’s Sugar Industry: the new paradigm
To review recent developments and drivers of Thailand’s sugar and ethanol complex and to prepare projections of production, consumption, and trade for both commodities over the next five years.
Thailand’s sugar industry grew strongly until changes in government support policy and adverse weather saw production collapse, growers confront lower prices and millers suffer lower revenues and poor profitability. Whilst in the short term, the outlook for a reasonable recovery in production is possible with better weather, in the longer term, questions remain over the potential for the sector to resume its growth trajectory. Will increasing volumes of cane be switched to alternative bioproducts such as bioplastics and ethanol?

8

2022/6
 
  • Agricultural and Industrial Yields in Sugar
To ascertain the evolution of agricultural and industrial yields in major sugar producing countries in the context of broader industry developments, including underlying trends in area, and identifying causal factors driving the observed trends and dynamics.
Key technical efficiencies for any sugar industry are agricultural yields in the field and sugar recovery in the factories. The best performing lower cost industries boast high agricultural yields and sucrose levels as well as good levels of factory capacity utilisation. Processing costs are heavily impacted by factory size and the length of the crushing season. Agricultural productivity is affected by local agricultural factors such as soil quality, climate (temperature and solar radiation), water availability (rainfed or irrigated), varieties, weed and pest control, and application of fertiliser.

8



[1] Article 33 of the 1992 International Sugar Agreement establishes MECAS. Paragraphs 2 and 3 of article 33 outline the scope of the work to be undertaken by the Committee, while paragraph 4 states that the Council shall consider each year a draft forward work programme.