‘No need to import more sugar’

    Stocks enough. Refined sugar supply remains steady following the entry of imports amounting to 163,000 MT.
    Stocks enough. Refined sugar supply remains steady following the entry of imports amounting to 163,000 MT.

    A representative of sugar farmers in the government agency regulating the commodity said there is no need to import additional sugar for the remaining months of the year as there is sufficient to tide the country over.

    Bernardino Yulo, board member of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) supply of refined sugar stands at 300,000 metric tons (MT).

    Yulo added as of September 29, raw sugar supply remains stable but did not give figures.

    He also assured that should raw sugar hit a shortfall, supply could easily catch up.

    “The mills have started grinding. We were initially apprehensive that there will be an uptake in demand.. which is usually from October to December (but) that was solved by the SO (Sugar Order) 5,” Yulo told reporters in a briefing in Quezon City yesterday.

    Yulo was referring to the SO issued last August setting maximum allowable volume of imported sugar at 250,000 MT.

    Of that volume, a little over 170,000 MT have come in.

    Yulo said at present, inventory of locally-produced refined sugar is at 143,000 MT while imported is at 163,000 MT.

    Sugar crop year begins September and ends in August of the following year.

    Meanwhile,  Yulo was set to file at the SRA board meeting yesterday a resolution opposing a proposal by the Department of Finance (DOF) to liberalize sugar importation.

    “After the rice tariffication, …(this) is not the time to implement sugar import liberalization.

    What is more important than figures is food security. We might get (lower) prices for a small period of time but the threat of food security problem looms,” Yulo said.

    He said the DOF should look closer into the issue based on the effects of the tarrification of rice that allowed the liberal importation of the grain.

    Yulo said the expected price drop in rice was not achieved while palay prices were higher than their projections.

    Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that total raw sugar production in the Philippines from December 2019 to November 2020 will reach 2.1 million MT while consumption will slightly increase to 2.3 million MT as demand for domestic and imported sugar by industrial users will move up due to import restrictions and increased taxes on beverages using sugar substitutes.

    The USDA said the Philippines’ sugar imports for the period are expected to be about 400,000 MT, the same as the previous year, to supplement local sugar production.

    The 250,000 MT of allowable sugar imports under SO 5 cover crop year 2018-2019. All additional imports would need to be permitted through a new SO issued for the current crop year.

    According to SRA’s first SO for crop year 2019-2020, it expects sugar production for the period to reach 2.096 million MT.