Sugar input down 9.5 %

May 10, 2022
The Philippine Star |

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s raw sugar production continued to decline for the sixth consecutive week, dropping 9.5 percent in the fourth week of April.

Figures from the Sugar Regulatory Authority showed that raw sugar production reached 1.67 million metric tons (MT) as of April 24, lower than the 1.85 MT in the same period last year.

The decline is higher than the 7.9 percent decline registered in the week before to 1.63 million MT.

Output in terms of 50-kilogram bags reached 33.5 million bags, lower than the 36.99 million bags a year ago.

This led to an 8.48 percent drop in the current raw sugar supply to 1.93 million MT from 2.1 million MT.

In contrast to the lower production, demand for raw sugar continued to grow by 2.67 percent.

The SRA also reported an 11.47 decline in the total sugarcanes milled to 19.3 million MT.  Millsite prices of sugar jumped by 33.78 percent to P2,233.01 per 50-kilo bag from P1,669.19 per 50-kilo bag in the same period a year ago.

Its final crop estimate for the current crop year, which ends in August, is projected to drop further to 1.982 million MT from an earlier estimate of 2.072 million MT as of Jan. 20.

In a statement earlier this month, SRA administrator Hermenegildo Serafica said the lower sugar production was due to the onslaught of typhoons such as Odette last year, as well excessive rain and reduced sunlight due to La Niña.

The SRA earlier said Typhoon Odette, which struck late last year, caused damage to sugarcane crops, sugar stocks at warehouses, as well as facilities and equipment of sugar mills and refineries in key sugar milling districts.

Data from the Department of Agriculture- Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center showed that sugarcane damage due to Typhoon Odette reached P1.15 billion, accounting for 8.6 percent of the total agricultural damage.

Amid the lower production and rising prices, the SRA has been pushing for the importation of sugar.

Based on a memorandum circular issued last week, the SRA said it is  processing applications from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao traders, with the exception of Region 6, to import 200,000 metric tons (MT) of standard grade refined sugar and bottler’s grade refined sugar as part of their sugar import program under Sugar Order 3.

To recall, two regional trial courts in Negros Occidental issued prelimary injunctions against Sugar Order No. 3.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said legal opinions from the government suggested that the sugar order may be implemented in areas where the TROs were issued.

“We stand by our data which is based on our weekly monitoring of sugar production, sugar withdrawals (demand), sugar stock balances and sugar prices. Everyone is aware that sugar prices have been high and continue to go up weekly.  It is clear from these data that we need to augment our sugar supply at the soonest possible time to ensure food security in sugar and food products using sugar as well as arrest the continuing increase in sugar prices which affects inflation,” Serafica said amid various groups opposing the importation of sugar.