‘PHL has ample sugar’

The Philippines will not import sugar as the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said on Thursday that local production for crop year (CY) 2017-2018, which will end on August 31, is enough to cover the country’s sugar requirements.

The SRA said the Sugar Board during its April 12 meeting “came to a consensus that there is no need to import sugar for domestic consumption.” The meeting was attended by Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano, SRA Administrator Hermengildo Serafica and board members Roland Beltran and Bernardino Yulo.

“There is no shortage of sugar. SRA data show that we will be able to reach our target production with enough buffer stock at the end of the milling season,” Serafica said in a statement.

Yulo, who represents the sugarcane planters in the SRA board, and Beltran, who represents the sugar millers, dismissed reports that Manila is poised to purchase sugar abroad to plug the shortfall in domestic output.

“During the presentation of the Regulation department, figures clearly showed that there will be no shortage,” Yulo said.

“There is no basis for speculations being floated around regarding alleged importation plans,” Beltran added.

The SRA expects total sugar output in CY 2017-2018 to reach 2.27 million metric tons (MMT), 9.2 percent lower than the 2.505 MMT recorded in the previous crop year. Despite this, the projected sugar output is 100,000 metric tons more than the total estimated demand of 2.17 MMT.

The latest preliminary data from the SRA showed that the country has produced 1.507 MMT of sugar as of March 25, 11.18 percent lower than the 1.697 MMT recorded in the same period last year

In an interview with the BusinessMirror in February, the Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA) estimated that the country’s total sugar output in CY 2017-2018 would reach 2.3 MMT.

PSMA Executive Director Francisco D. Varua told the BusinessMirror that unfavorable weather conditions affected sugarcane plantations in some provinces, resulting in lower sugar content and milling recovery.

Due to the expected decline in total output in the current crop year, the SRA has earlier reduced the allocation of sugar for the United States market (“A”) to 6 percent, from 10 percent.

The allocation of world market sugar (“D”), or those for export to other countries, was also cut to 6 percent, from the previous 10 percent.

The SRA also increased the sugar allocation for the domestic market to 93 percent, from 80 percent. The SRA pegged the domestic demand for sugar at 2.17 MMT.

“The domestic market remains as the priority market for locally produced sugar, and it is of national interest that a comfortable buffer, or carry-over volume, of ‘B’ sugar during the end of season and for the start of the next crop year for stable supply and prices,” Sugar Order (SO) 1-A read.

“This sugar order shall take effect immediately covering sugar production of week ending January 28 and subsequent week endings of CY 2017-2018,” it added.

Varua also said he doesn’t see Manila receiving an additional sugar import quota from Washington in the current fiscal year, as Mexico is expected to fill up the expected sugar shortage of the United States.

“We do not expect additional quota from the US, that is why we reduced the A allocation from 10 percent to 6 percent,” he said.

“Mexico has been able to reengineer their situation to allow them to ship raw sugar of acceptable quality to US refineries and the same time allow them to ship in bulk,” Varua added.

Image Credits: Nonie Reyes

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