SRA board sets ‘A’ sugar at 7%

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BY CARLA P. GOMEZ

Leaders of planters’ groups said yesterday that they had recommended a lower amount of the country’s sugar production to be allocated for the US market, but will abide by the recently approved allocations for the incoming crop year.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration Board has allocated 7 percent of the country’s sugar production for crop year 2020-2021 as “A” for the US Market and 93 percent as “B” for the domestic market.

Sugar Order No. 1 released Wednesday states that with favorable weather conditions and an increase in sugarcane area, the country’s total raw sugar production for crop year 2020-2021 is estimated at 2.190 million metric tons, which is 2 percent higher than crop year 2019-2020 with raw sugar production of 2.145 million metric tons.

It said various sugar farmers and millers organizations have expressed their position that SRA allocate “A” sugar for crop year 2020-21.

The sugar order was approved by board chair – Agriculture Secretary William Dar, vice chairperson – SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica and board members Roland Beltran for the millers and Emilio Bernardino Yulo for the planters.

The National Federation of Sugarcane Planters initially recommended a 3 percent allocation for the US market, to maintain access to what has been traditionally a favorable US sugar market, NFSP president Enrique Rojas said.

“We also recommended to prioritize the domestic market, so that our planters can benefit from the relatively high sugar prices in our local market,” he said.

However, since the sugar order is already out, they will abide with the mandated 7 percent allocation for the US market and 93 percent for the domestic market, Rojas said.

“When we already have concrete figures of production and consumption during the middle of the milling season, we hope that SRA will review the present allocation and institute the necessary adjustments in favor of more allocation for the domestic market,” Rojas added.

Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota y Pontevedra Inc. (AALCPI) president Roberto Cuenca said, “The Board of Directors and I will follow and abide with the decision of the majority.”

The AALCPI’s recommendation was a status quo on 5 percent for “A” sugar, he said.

Nicolas Ledesma, chairman of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations Negros/Panay Chapter, said “As much as CONFED proposed 6 percent for A and 94 percent for B, we think the additional 1 percent which we estimate to be about 153,000 metric tons over the initial US quota of 136,000 MT might create problems due to demand in the US because of the pandemic.”

But they can live with that as long as there is no “D” (world market) allocation and no sugar importation for Crop Year 2020-2021, he added.

Manuel Lamata, United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines president, said they are “good” with the Sugar Order No. 1 since the sugar stock at the start of milling is still a lot.

“It is also good to continue our relationship with the US. In the event that prices drop here locally we will have an outlet,” Lamata added.*

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