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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, August 9, 2016
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SRA hopes for less
El Niño damage

The Sugar Regulatory Administration hopes the El Niño phenomenon had not taken a great toll on this year's production as the milling season began in some areas in Negros Occidental yesterday.

OIC-Assistant Administrator Ignacio Santillana said SRA is projecting a hit from the continuous drought, but hopes to recover from the cumulative losses of 3.78 percent in cropping season 2014-15, and 3.48 percent in 2015-16.

Santillana said the agency is still waiting for the preliminary crop estimate based on the crop stand in the Philippines, which will be available by the end of the month.

“Last cropping season, we lost about 2.27 metric tons per hectare prompting us to import 160,000 metric tons of sugar from countries like Thailand to augment our domestic supply,” he said.

He said the Philippines still had a quota of 138,000 MT yearly to the U.S. which was not fully delivered in 2014-15.

“We had to fulfill our quota so we had to ship the right quantity and in return augment our supplies locally by importing 1.2 bags more from what we've exported to stabilize the supply,” he said.

SRA also sees the La Niña phenomenon as a threat to the coming cropping season in September, he said.

He said the agency is expecting a much bigger drop in production if the intensified rains forecast will fall heavily on sugar-producing provinces.

Although it has less effect, land conversion of sugar plantations also contribute to the decrease, he added.

The First Farmers Holding Corp. started accepting cane yesterday, and more are expected to follow next month until the first week of December, he also said.*KBC


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