Philippines: Sugar federations push for strategic sugar imports if needed

May 20, 2024
ChiniMandi |

Bacolod City: Due to potential sugar shortages caused by the El Niño phenomenon, leading sugar federations are advocating for a strategic and transparent importation plan if such measures become necessary. This follows the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s (SRA) recent suggestion that importation might be needed to mitigate shortages.

The Sugar Council, which includes major national producers such as the Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Associations, Inc. (CONFED), the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP), and the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (PANAYFED), emphasized the importance of government intervention and collaboration to promptly address critical industry issues.

In a communication to Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr., the council insisted that any importation decision should be preceded by a thorough analysis of market conditions by the SRA, in consultation with industry stakeholders, before the new milling season begins. The Council noted that current reserves might suffice until the first quarter of 2025 unless there is an unexpected increase in consumption rates.

The Council stated, “As conservative projections go, this may of course change, needing importation sooner. And if that is the opinion of the SRA, then the Sugar Council would be interested in looking at SRA’s projections.”

The federations warned that premature importation could undermine local sugar prices at the Millgate, especially as local production is expected to decrease in the 2024-2025 calendar year, potentially worsening the challenges for sugar farmers. They emphasized that while importing sugar could stabilize retail prices amid low local production, it should be considered a last-resort strategy. Any importation should be implemented in full consultation with all stakeholders and adjusted to avoid overlapping with the milling season.