Philippine sugar production hits 2.5 MMT

Photo shows a customer checking various brands and types of sugar displayed inside a supermarket in Makati City.

The country’s sugar output has reached 2.5 million metric tons (MMT) as of August 6, surpassing the production target of the government for the current crop year, according to data from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

Data from the SRA showed that sugar production as of August 6 is 11.7 percent higher than the 2.238 MMT recorded in crop year (CY) 2015-2016. It is also 11.1 percent higher than the SRA’s initial forecast of 2.25 MMT for CY 2016-2017, which will end on August 31.

“For the current crop year, we produced beyond our expectations. The latest production figure, with all mills finished, is at 2.5 MMT,” Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA) Executive Director Francisco D. Varua told the BusinessMirror in an interview.

“This is one of the highest we have ever had. If I’m not mistaken this is the highest since the 1970s,” Varua added.

Data from the PSMA showed that the country’s sugar output in the current crop year is the highest since CY 1976-1977, when production reached 2.685 MMT.

Earlier, SRA Administrator Anna Rosario V. Paner attributed the country’s “historic” output to the expansion of areas planted with sugarcane.

SRA data showed that the total sugarcane areas in the CY 2016-2017 reached 419,207 hectares, slightly higher than the 411,502 hectares in the previous crop year.

However, Paner said the increase in output and the decline in prices could discourage farmers from planting sugarcane in the next crop year.

“Output in the next year could be around 2.4 MMT. This is due to contraction in hectarage. Current challenges, such as low prices, could force farmers to shift other crops,” she told the BusinessMirror in an interview.

As of July 30, data from the SRA showed that the mill-site price of raw sugar has declined to P1,300 per 50-kilogram bag (Lkg).

Varua said he expects the mill-site price of sugar in CY 2017-2018 to go up to as much as P1,600/Lkg.

He said this is due to a decline in sugar inventory after the Philippines ships more sugar to the US.

Image Credits: Nonie Reyes