Farmers, coops in Negros report 10% drop in production due to El Niño

Farmers, coops in Negros report 10% drop in production due to El Niño

Big and progressive sugar farmers in Negros Occidental reported a drop of production by 10 percent due to the effect of the dry spell caused by the El Niño phenomenon, Sugar Regulatory Administrator Paul Azcona said Tuesday, March 12.

Azcona also said that the milling this crop year may close early as some of the big mills in the country have already closed while others have indicated to close this month.

He said big farmers in other sugar-producing provinces also reported the same drop in production.

"As of this moment, we have already produced 1.55 million metric tonnes of sugar which is ahead of what we already produced at the same time last year. As early as now, there are already mills signifying closure, as Tarlac has already closed, Capiz will be next, as URC in Passi, Iloilo.  So that's all surprising as well," Azcona said.

"I've asked the SRA to validate their production data. We usually mill until May or even June," he said.

Azcona added that with the closure of big mills, he has yet to determine if they could hit their initial target of 1.85 million metric tons this year.

Meanwhile, Azcona said that although at this moment, there will be no importation which is stated in a sugar order that is expected to come out Wednesday, March 13.

"Based on the current supply and withdrawal data, we don't need to import as of this time. Some people wanted me to make a statement that we will not import in 2024, however, we are now in March and we don't know if withdrawals will suddenly increase and if we ran out of sugar and if we already made the statement what shall we do? I may backtrack my statement. Most people know that we don't have full control of supply and withdrawals and that the SRA Board only regulates the sugar supply but we do not produce the supply," he explained.*


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