President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday approved the additional importation of up to 150,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar to stabilize prices and boost the country’s sugar supply.
The decision was made after Marcos met with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) headed by Acting Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona and Board Member Ma. Mitzi Mangwang, who represents the millers.
The SRA forecast inventory shows that the country will have a negative ending stock of 552,835 MT by the end of August 2023, the end of the milling season. This means that the country will need to import an additional 100,000 to 150,000 MT of sugar to avert a shortfall.
As of May 7, 2023, the country has sufficient supply of raw sugar with a beginning stock of 160,000 MT. However, the expected local production of 2.4MMT and the 440,000 MT allowed to be imported under SO No. 6, s. 2022-2023 as well as the 64,050 MT under the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) mechanism will not be able to cover the 3.1MMT demand.
In order to improve productivity, Marcos also approved moving the start of the milling season from August to September this year. This will improve raw sugar recovery because it will minimize the milling of young canes.
Marcos also ordered the SRA to expedite block farming initiatives to also increase production. Block farming is a system by which small farm lots are consolidated into at least a 30 hectare-block farm. There are currently 21 block farms in the country averaging at least 40 hectares each.
Once organized into block farms, farmers are entitled to financial and mechanization support for increased production. The President pointed out, “consolidation is an important part of agro-industrial production. We’re looking at increasing the budget for block farming to accelerate the process of organizing the block farms.”
The additional importation of sugar is expected to help stabilize prices and boost the country’s sugar supply. This will benefit both consumers and producers, and it will help to ensure that the Philippines has a reliable source of sugar for the future.