Planters group leader sees 20% drop in sugar production

Planters seek to recall Sugar Order 3 as sugar prices dropped by P230 per bag several days after the Sugar Regulatory Administration issued the order on February 4, 2022. (PNA Photo)
Planters seek to recall Sugar Order 3 as sugar prices dropped by P230 per bag several days after the Sugar Regulatory Administration issued the order on February 4, 2022. (PNA Photo)

United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (Unifed) president Manuel Lamata is expecting a drop in sugar production this crop year by 20 percent due to the effect of the drought because of El Niño. 

"The sugar industry is suffering from a big loss amounting to hundreds of millions," Lamata said. 

Lamata is asking the government to abolish the Bureau of Soils and Water Management office because it failed to follow his call to conduct cloudseeding operations in March to save the sugarcane plantations from drought. 

"They sacrificed the hundred billion sugar industry and spared the mango plantations that are smaller," Lamata pointed out, referring to the reasons given by the BSWM for not conducting the cloudseeding operation at the height of the drought due to lack of seedable clouds and that it may also affect mango plantations in San Carlos City and Guimaras. 

"They are so incompetent…" Lamata lamented. 

He also said that despite the rainy days due to Tropical Depression Aghon, which has already left the country, the Department of Agriculture will conduct a cloudseeding operation and that there have been emissaries who asked him to use his plane. 

"When it rains, it pours. It is better late than never," Lamata said.  He said more rain is needed to save sugar replants. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine Sugar Millers Association said the country currently has an adequate sugar supply. 

 "The country has an abundant supply of sugar this year, our increased production has filled our warehouses, so there is no need to import at this time," said Jesus Barrera, Executive Director of the Philippine Sugar Millers' Association, Inc. (PSMA). 

Records from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) show that as of May 12, raw sugar production has reached 1.921 million tons, exceeding last year's 1.799 million tons, while refined sugar production also went up to 687,823 tons from 624,389 tons last season, PSMA said in a press statement. 

Inventory levels have also risen significantly, with a 26% increase in raw sugar and a 35% increase in refined sugar compared to the previous year's inventory levels, totaling 1.150 million tons of raw equivalent. 

Part of the inventory is the 135,675 tons of imported refined sugar that were brought in last year and are still unwithdrawn and unused, it added.*

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