Millers welcome SRA stand on no additional sugar imports

December 29, 2023
Philippine Daily Inquirer |

BACOLOD CITY — The Philippine Sugar Millers’ Association Inc. (PSMA) has welcomed the pronouncement of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) that there is no need to import sugar based on current demand figures.

Jesus Barrera, PSMA executive director, said demand-withdrawals have been slow since the start of the season.

Based on the latest figures of SRA, raw sugar and refined sugar withdrawals were down by 23 percent and 10 percent respectively as of Dec. 3.

“We have entered the height of milling with practically all sugar mills in operation and producing sugar. With such weak demand, our physical inventories are building up as we are adding more stocks every week,” Barrera said in a statement on Dec. 22.

He said they welcomed the statement of the SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona that there is no need to add more sugar from imports.

“Adding to the woes of the sugar industry is that farmgate prices have gone down from P3,000 per bag at the start of the crop year in August to P2,390 to P2,500 in the past two weeks,” Barrera said.

“Given sluggish demand and reduced prices, sugar producers see no justification for importing sugar, as any additional imports would worsen and prolong their current predicament,” he added.

The government recently announced it will stop the importation of sugar and is seriously considering directly buying from local farmers to arrest the drop in farmgate prices.

Sugar industry leaders have attributed the drop in farmgate prices to P2,500 per Lkg and below from an expected P3,000 per Lkg to an oversupply of imported sugar.

They also pointed out that while farmgate prices have dropped, retail prices of sugar remain high.

The Sugar Council, represented by three federations comprising more than half of national sugar output had reiterated their call for timely government intervention amid the drop in sugar prices.