Syria’s National Sugar Co, a privately owned refiner with a capacity of 1 million tons a year, has halted production because of the poor security situation in the country, its chairman said on Sunday.
“Of course we have been greatly affected. We have stopped production now at the refinery due to the events,” Mohamad Najib Assaf told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Kingsman Dubai sugar industry conference.
“We stopped operations nearly two months ago,” he said.
The refinery, which used to produce around 2,500 tons of white sugar a day, is located 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of the city of Homs, where hundreds were reported killed over the weekend by shelling in one of the bloodiest episodes of the nearly year-long revolt against President Bashar Al Assad.
Syrians consume around 800,000 tons of sugar a year.
Assaf said the two other sugar refineries in Syria, one state-owned and the other privately owned, were also suffering because of the unrest.
“White sugar is now mainly being imported by traders in small quantities, maybe 1,000 to 2,000 tons, to supply the local market as no one is willing to take a risk and import huge quantities,” he said.
National Sugar Co, which also exports sugar to neighboring countries such as Iraq, does not have a schedule for re-starting operations. “It all depends on events,” Assaf said.