Sugar output hits 1.849MMT in April–SRA

May 10, 2021
Jasper Y. Arcalas (Business Mirror)  |

The country’s sugar production as of end-April inched up to 1.849 million metric tons (MMT) from 1.826 MMT recorded a year ago, latest Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) data showed.

SRA data as of April 25 showed that domestic output grew by 1.25 percent year-on-year as total sugarcane tonnage outpaced the decline in year-to-date sugar yield.

Data from the agency also indicated that total sugarcane milled rose by 9.1 percent to 21.819 MMT from 19.999 MMT recorded last year.

Sugar yield as of April 25 averaged at 1.72 50-kilogram bags per metric ton of sugarcane milled (LKg/TC), which was 7.03 percent lower than the 1.85 LKg/TC recorded in the same period of last year, based on latest SRA data.

The average mill-site price of sugar as of April 25 rose by 17.8 percent to P1,669.19 per LKg from P1,417.01 per LKg last year, SRA data showed.

SRA data also showed that the average wholesale price of raw sugar grew by 2.94 percent to P1,750 per LKg from last year’s P1,700 per LKg. However, the wholesale price of refined sugar fell slightly to P2,250 per LKg from last year’s P2,270 per LKg.

Despite the mixed trend in wholesale prices, the retail prices of both raw and refined sugar remained stable at P45 per kg and P50 per kg, respectively, according to SRA.

In March, the Philippines decided to allocate its remaining raw sugar output in crop year 2020-2021 for domestic consumption to ensure ample stockpile and avert a possible increase in prices as output may be lower than expected.

The SRA issued Sugar Order (SO) 1-A which authorized the scrapping of the 7 percent “A” allocation or sugar to be exported to the United States as mandated by SO 1 issued in September 2020.

Based on SO 1-A, all remaining sugar production covering “production of week ending April 4” until the end of the crop year 2020-2021, which is on August 31, shall be allocated as “B” or for the domestic sugar market.

The SRA board explained that the reallocation was driven by the lower sugar content of canes milled in the current crop year due to “severe” La Niña affecting the majority of sugarcane fields.

The SRA board said the decline in sugar recovery milling rate, which has dropped to an average of 1.71 50-kilogram bag per ton cane (LKg/TC), is “substantially lower” than the 1.87 LKg/TC estimated before the start of the crop year.

“The drop in LKg/TC eclipses the increase in sugarcane tonnage this crop year, which is higher by 8 percent [as of March 7] from tonnage for the same week-ending last crop year,” it said.

“As a consequence of the drop in LKg/TC, SRA in its Final Crop Estimate for calendar year [CY] 2020-2021 revised sugar production for the crop year to 2.101 million metric tons, from 2.19 million metric tons,” it added.

The SRA said it has “informed stakeholders about the drop in estimated production for the crop year, who in turn have given their recommendations on how to address the situation.”