THE price of sugar is expected to go up in the coming months because of the huge shortage in supply, said the president of United Farmers Association of Negros South Inc. (Unifarms).

Hinigaran Vice Mayor Jose Nadie Arceo said that at the start of the milling season for 2010 to 2011, the balance would only be 53,118 metric tons, which is way below to the minimum beginning stock balance of at least 200,000 metric tons.

He also said that this year, the domestic consumption of sugar increased to more than 21 percent. This, he added, is a strange situation because this has never happened in history of the country's domestic consumption.

Arceo said the increase is a result of the high prices and meager stock of sugar at the world market.

He said the shortage in sugar supply happened in the country despite the importation of 150,000 metric tons from Brazil, which is now the only source of imported sugar after Thailand stopped its sugar export, because it would take one and a half month for the sugar from Brazil to arrive in the Philippines.

He said they also expect a drop in production this year because of the effect of El Niño phenomenon that hurt the sugarcane.

Arceo said that last crop year, there was already a five drop in production, and another five percent drop is expected this year. (TED)