Global sugar price surge ‘cannot kill’ local industry – SRA

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Global sugar price surge �cannot kill� local industry � SRA
A vendor repacks sugars at Quinta market in Quiapo, Manila on August 11, 2022.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The 35.5 percent surge in the prices of sugar worldwide “cannot kill” the Philippine sugar industry, according to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

“The global situation is a clear indicator that we cannot kill the local industry and be import-dependent, as the world production continues to decline and global prices continue to rise,” SRA administrator Pablo Azcona told The STAR yesterday.

Top sugar exporters India, Thailand and China have lowered their crop yields and reduced harvests, resulting in tighter global supplies while rising input costs due to high energy and fertilizer prices further increased prices.

“I have personal knowledge that Thailand will have a 30 percent drop minimum and produce their lowest production in 10 years,” Azcona added, noting that India declared it will import close to one million metric tons of sugar.

Brazil is the only country that declared it maintained or improved its sugar production last year, he said.

The SRA estimates that for crop year 2023-2024 or from Sept. 1 to Aug. 30, 2024, total sugar production will reach 1.85 million MT with an additional area of 3,000 hectares of sugar planted.

Azcona gave assurance there will be no additional sugar importation until yearend as the country’s two-month buffer stock is enough.

“This administration has put more effort into supply security through self-sufficiency and not import dependence,” Azcona said.

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s monitoring, the retail prices of refined sugar ranged between P84 and P110 per kilo, washed sugar between P80 and P95 per kilo and brown sugar between P78 and P95 per kilo.

Meanwhile, farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura chairman Rosendo So said tariffs should not be cut if the government resumes sugar importation.

“Rice is more of a priority than sugar. Even with the increase in the price in the world market, the retail prices of sugar still ranged between P90 and P110 (per kilo),” So said. — Gilbert Bayoran

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