The sugar production in the country dropped by 27.48 percent in December, the Sugar Regulatory Administration said.
The agency reported that in the first week of December, sugar production was 311,617 metric tons, which was down from 429,680 MT a year earlier. This is equivalent to 6.232 million 50-kilo bags from 8.593 million 50-kilo bags.
The crop year for sugar starts every September and ends in August.
In the SRA report from September 1 to December 1, the demand for raw sugar declined by 6.13 percent, from 366,023 MT to 343,597 MT.
Total sugarcane milled also decreased by 24.27 percent, from 4.902 million MT a year earlier to 3.712 million MT.
The refined sugar output also fell 29.90 percent to 110,654 MT from 157,855 MT a year earlier.
For molasses, the production decreased by 19.48 percent, or from 327,489 MT to 263,680 MT.
The millgate price, meanwhile, increased by 3.47 percent, from P1,463.85 per 50-kilo bag to P1,514.71 per 50-kilo bag, the SRA report showed, while the prevailing retail price of raw sugar in the market fell by 17.43 percent at P45 per kilo from P54.50 per kilo a year earlier.
Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of Sugar Watch Philippines, said there are speculations that sugar import liberalization will be implemented sooner.
“As of now, with the support of the Senate, there is a respite or temporary delay in its implementation. However, with an announcement from the sugar industry leaders that there will be a shortfall in the production of the domestic sugar, SRA will be compelled to import sugar,” he said.
He pointed out that the volume and the timing are very crucial so the farmgate prices of sugar will not be affected.
“Otherwise, it would only give our economic managers a reason to deregulate sugar imports sooner than later,” he added.*
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