More molasses and cane-based bioethanol plants are expected to rise in the country in 2016, Sugar Regulatory Administrator Ma. Regina Martin said yesterday.
In the first quarter of 2016, two more molasses-based bioethanol plants are forecast to operate – the Absolut Distillery and Emperador Distillery – in Batangas, she said.
By the last quarter of 2016, Cavite Biofuels Producer is expected to operate, another cane-based plant with a capacity of 40 million liters, she said.
Martin said by 2016, the country will have an additional bioethanol capacity of around 100 million liters, bringing the total bioethanol production capacity of 11 facilities to 322 million liters, which is around 80 percent of the E10 mandatory requirement.
“If climate and weather patterns are favorable for sugarcane growth and sucrose formation - then, we see a better harvest of sugarcane which can cater to the production of sugar enough for the needs of our sugar markets like the domestic requirement, the US quota and the world market,” she said.
With good sugarcane yields, the crop can also supply the bioethanol feedstock needs of cane-based bioethanol plants, like the San Carlos Bioenergy and Green Future Innovations, Martin said.
With more sugar comes more molasses to supply the molasses-based bioethanol plants and, hopefully, the price of molasses will be stabilized to competitive levels, she added.
Climate condition and weather patterns are the major factors that will determine the outcome of sugarcane yields in 2016, Martin said.
SRA will closely monitor sugar production and it will be ready to institute measures to ensure stable and sufficient supply of sugar, notwithstanding severe droughts caused by El Niño, she added.
CONFED Negros-Panay Chairman Francisco dela Rama said yesterday that the current crop being harvested has been greatly affected by the ongoing El Niño event. Initial estimates indicate a 15 to 20 percent drop in sugar production for crop year 2015-2016, and the most affected sector are the small farmers, he said.
“With sugar prices being favorable to the producers, this will help alleviate the effects of the drop in production. SRA and Philsurin have been working together to provide better sugarcane that can adopt to the changing weather patterns that we have been experiencing these past years,” dela Rama said.
For crop year 2016-2017, it is still too early to predict, he also said, adding that, hopefully, the weather will improve by next year.*CPG
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