No deal yet on imports of sugar, says DA chief
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - June 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) maintained that the Philippines would not import sugar despite strong calls from local manufacturers of confectionery products following the surge in domestic sugar prices.

“No agreement on sugar importation yet,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a text message to The STAR.

Piñol, who is still in South Korea, did not elaborate whether he supports the private sector’s call for importation.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is also leaving the decision up to the agri chief.

The Philippine Confectionery Biscuits and Snack Association (PCBSA) earlier sought the government’s approval to import sugar, with the goal of ensuring stable supply, enhancing free competition, and ensuring a level playing field.

Mill gate prices of sugar jumped 44 percent to P1,802 per 50-kilogram bag as of May 20.

The wholesale prices of raw, washed, and refined sugar also went up by more than 20 percent to P1,950 to P2,550 per 50-kg.

This is significantly higher than the landed price of imported sugar of about P1,300 per 50-kg bag.

The continued increase in the price of sugar was attributed to the declining output in the farms despite assurance from SRA that local production would still meet domestic demand.

SRA aims to produce 2.27 million metric tons (MT) this year.

A sugar crop year starts every September and ends in August.

Latest data showed that local raw sugar production continued its decline, falling 13 percent to 1.99 million MT as of May 20.

Based on data on sugar production for crop year 2017-2018, output in terms of 50-kilogram bags decreased to 39.8 million from 45.6 million the previous year.

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