Marcos clears importation of more sugar on SRA report

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PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has approved the importation of more sugar to address the expected shortfall in the local production of the sweetener this year.

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said Marcos made the decision during his meeting with SRA officials, together with Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin, and Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday.

During the meeting, SRA said the country’s overall sugar supply this year will include the 2.4 million metric ton (MMT) produced by local farmers, the 440,000 metric tons (MT) allowed to be imported under Sugar Order (SO) No. 6, s. 2022-2023, as well as the 64,050 MT under the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) mechanism.

It noted the country’s projected sugar stock this year will be insufficient to cover the 3.1 MMT demand for the sweetener.

SRA estimated the country will need to import between 100,000 MT and 150,000 MT of sugar to address the expected supply gap.

“The exact amount will be determined once we have determined the exact amount of supply, which will come at the end of this month,” Marcos said in the meeting.

Stable price and supply

PCO said the additional importation of sugar will keep the price of the food commodity stable.

SRA noted the initial sugar importation under SO 6 was effective in stabilizing the farmgate price of raw sugar, which is averaging at P62 per kilogram (kg) for the current crop year (CY) compared to the P38 per kg average farmgate price in CY 2021-2022.

To help boost local production of sugar, Marcos said the government has reset the start of the milling season for sugar cane from August to September.

The measure aims to ensure the milled canes will be fully mature, so they will yield even more sugar.

The President also instructed SRA to expedite its initiatives to consolidate small sugar cane farm lots into at least 30-hectare “block farms” so farmers can maximize their production.

Farmers of such block farms are entitled to financial and mechanization support for increased production.  There are currently 21 block farms nationwide with an average size of at least 40 hectares each.