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SRA to conduct inventory of local sugar stocks

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) will start the nationwide sugar inventory this month amid concerns that the Philippines will soon run out of the sweetener.

SRA OIC-Administrator Hermenegildo R. Serafica has issued Circular Letter (CL) No. 32 that outlined the guidelines for the physical sugar stock, molasses and quedan-permits inventory.

Serafica said the physical inventory to be conducted in all operating sugar mills and refineries nationwide is part of the SRA’s efforts of assessing the country’s sugar production in crop year (CY) 2021-2022.

The physical inventory inspection will be conducted from August 15 to 20, a few weeks before the start of CY 2022-2023 on September 1.

Under the guidelines, the SRA will hire a private surveyor that would conduct the physical sugar and molasses inventory in the presence of an inventory team (IT).

“For sugar mills, each IT shall be composed of the authorized representative of the mill company, platners’ associations/cooperatives/federations, and the authorized SRA representative as team leader,” CL 32 read.

“As for sugar refineries, each IT shall be composed of the authorized representative of the sugar refinery and the authorized SRA representative as Team leader,” it added.

The SRA said it will first shoulder the actual cost of the surveying services of the private surveyor for the nationwide sugar inventory. The SRA added that it would bill the “concerned mill/refinery companies” for the “cost of the surveying services.”

“There shall be no withdrawal of raw sugar and/or refined sugar and molasses from all mill/refinery warehouses/storage tanks for the entire duration of the physical sugar and molasses stock inventory,” CL 32 read.

It also stipulated that all sugar mills must submit to the SRA’s regulation department a listing of their outstanding quedan-permits as of August 31.

Citing the latest estimates made by the SRA, Agriculture Undersecretary-designate Kristine Y. Evangelista said the country’s current refined sugar supply would be wiped out by end-August. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/27/manila-eyes-fresh-round-of-sugar-imports-da-official/)

The SRA earlier projected that refined sugar supply would last until the end of July while raw sugar would be depleted by the first week of August.  (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/06/29/phl-may-run-out-of-sugar-by-august-sra/)

Evangelista said the imported sugar under the importation program authorized by Sugar Order 3 has started to arrive and has augmented local sugar supply.

In June, Serafica said importation is one of the options of the government to plug the shortfall in domestic sugar supply since it will take some to build up stocks from local sources. He noted that the milling of raw sugar starts in December and peaks in the first quarter of the succeeding year, while refined sugar production begins once there is an ample supply of raw sugar.

“If we rely on our local production alone and not allow importation, by August we won’t have enough sugar and we won’t have any carryover stocks for our needs in the coming months until production builds up.”

Image credits: businessmirror file photo



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