THE P490-million sugar-mill plant of HDJ Bayawan Agri-venture Corp. (HBAC) recently received approval from the Board of Investments (BOI).
The project qualified in the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) under the manufacturing activities agro-processing category.
The investment promotion agency said a sugar-mill plant will be set up by HBAC in a 5-hectare area in Negros Oriental. It is expected to produce nearly 430,000 50-kilogram bags of raw sugar per annum.
The firm will also be making 7,665 metric tons (MT) per year of molasses as a by-product of the raw-sugar processing. The plant started operations just this month starting with 151 personnel.
BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the new plant will address the needs of Department of Agrarian Reform beneficiaries and other small sugarcane farmers located within the 15-kilometer radius of the plant.
“The establishment of the new sugar-mill plant will dramatically reduce the cost of transporting sugarcane among farmers within the area by as much as P600 per ton,” said Rodolfo who is also Trade Undersecretary for Industry Development. “Farmers will now have greater flexibility on where to send their sugarcanes for milling.”
Existing sugar-mill sites are in Santa Catalina, Bai City and Kabankalan City. As they are 50 kilometers away from farms, the cost of transporting sugarcane to these sites is around P650 per ton. National production of sugarcane for July to September increased by 63.5 percent to 783,370 MT, compared to 479,000 MT in the same period last year, according to figures from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and the Philippine Statistics Authority. Western Visayas, which includes Negros Oriental and Occidental, produced over half of the national output with 54.4 percent.
Overall, the country’s sugar output has reached 2.5 million MT as of August 2017, surpassing the production target for the current crop year 2016-2017.
The SRA also data showed that the total sugarcane areas reached 419,207 hectares, higher than the 411,502 hectares in the previous crop year.