The private sector sugar industries of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines have agreed in principle to form the ASEAN Sugar Alliance to strengthen their industries for the coming ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, Sugar Regulatory Administration Ma. Regina Baustita Martin said yesterday.
The idea to form an alliance was initially discussed by Thailand sugar industry representatives when Philippine sugarcane farmers and millers visited that country in August 2012, Martin said in a press release.
At first, the alliance was to be comprised of sugar industries of Thailand and Indonesia, but after the Philippine sugar industry showed interest, it was welcomed as an incorporating party, she said.
The private sector Philippine sugar industry was attracted to join to establish a “strong relationship” among the sugar industries in ASEAN, where Thailand is the largest producer and exporters of sugar, and Indonesia, the biggest consumer and importer, the press release added.
The ASA will be the venue for exchanges and collaboration on sugarcane, sugar and related products researches among alliance members. This is in response to the changing business environment - trade, growing demand for sugar, advances in farm and mill technologies and changing weather patterns, Martin said in the press release.
ASA's mission focuses on the important role of sugarcane as raw material for food and energy, the cooperation on sugar related business development, and the support to the government sector for the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community, it also said.
ASEAN, with a population of almost 600 million, produces around 17 million tons of sugar, and consumes about 14 million tons of sugar yearly. The consuming ratio per person is around 23 kilograms per year, according to the International Sugar Organization (ISO), the press release said.
Cherdpong Siriwit from Thailand was elected chairman of ASA, while Pedro Roxas of the Philippines was elected vice-chairman during the organizational meeting in Bangkok Wednesday.
Joining the Philippine delegation were Jeannie Krebs and Francisco Varua, treasurer and executive vice president of PSMA, respectively, she said.
Martin was invited by the Philippine sugar industry to observe the proceedings, the press release added.*