SRA board member wants sugar allocation for US scrapped

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    A board member of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is urging for the termination of the current 7 percent allocation for the US quota of sugar shipments as the government’s targeted sugar output for this crop year is not likely to be met.

    Bernardino Yulo, SRA board member representing planters, said that the projected national production of 2.190 million metric tons (MT) may not be possible given the heavy rainfall experienced in Negros Occidental and with Batangas getting hit by Typhoon Quinta last November.

    He said that the matter was already relayed to SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica as early as November to revisit and review their estimates.

    Yulo said that the Serafica assured that, based on a study made as early as October last year, there will be excess sugar this crop year and will need to be exported.

    “That statement was quite alarming because of clear figures coming from the ground which prompted me to reiterate my reservations in my letters between January to March because it was near impossible to attain by then the initial projected national production,” Yulo explained.

    He said that in order for the government projections to be met, producers would need to average 2.22LKg bags per ton cane (LKg per TC) for the remainder of the milling season.

    “In fact, just to be able to reach 2 million MT, the industry needs to average on 1.78LKg per TC for the remainder of the crop year. But by end of February, figures showed that the LKg per TC continued to be mired in the 1.71 level which makes it next to impossible to aim for the projected national production,” Yulo warned.

    He said that the SRA should already act as it is “unconscionable” to export sugar if the country would later on be forced to import supplies, as it “will again prompt the resurgence of calls to liberalize which industry stakeholders have been fighting against, knowing that this will kill the sugar industry.”

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

    Last year, the United States Department of Agriculture also projected that the Philippines may hit a 2.19 million MT production for crop year 2020-2021 but warned that La Niña could moderately lower the production as it may result in higher tonnage of sugar canes but lower in sugar content.

    The country booked 2.07 million MT for crop year 2018-2019 and 2.15 million MT for 2019-2020.