Drop in production hikes price of sugar

THE Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has noted an increase of P1 per kilogram in the market price of sugar, now P56 from its suggested retail price of P55 per kilogram, due to decrease in production amid the prolonged dry season associated with El Niño.

Sugarcane, the main crop of Negros Occidental, incurred damage and production losses of P163.31 million, mostly in sugar and molasses, due to the dry spell, SRA had reported earlier.

The figure covers six milling districts in 15 local government units, affecting 7,909 planters, with a total affected area of 7,544.09 hectares, or 15.4 percent of the 48,975.32 hectares standing crop area.

SRA Administrator Ma. Regina Martin said that because of the weather condition, they are working on balancing the supply of the country’s stocks to prevent sugar price increase.

Martin said a 2.14 percent drop in production was noted in August last year, compared to the previous crop year. For this crop year, SRA is looking at a drop of roughly five percent, she added.

“With the favorable weather condition now, production will again hasten. In the whole country, we are at about 20 to 30 percent to go which will hopefully cover the consumption demand,” Martin said.

Moreover, in order to balance supply and consumption, SRA is regulating and monitoring the classification of “C” or reserve sugar to domestic or “B” sugar.

In terms of importation, Martin said 5,000 metric tons of refined sugar just came in.

She also pointed out that the replacement program of the 135,000 metric tons that was exported to the US will also be coming back, and would automatically becomes reserve.

Before the Sugar Board can decide, an application for reclassification, from “C” to “B” sugar should be made first, Martin said, adding that “for now, we have to await the production situation.”

“Within this week another 5,000 metric tons will come in, thus, four vessels already would have left the country, from the five vessels comprising the total US quota,” Martin added.

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