SRA keeps ’13 sugar output targetBy Niña P. Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has kept its sugar production forecast for crop year 2012-2013 at 2.356 million metric tons, despite the effects of two consecutive typhoons that hit sugar-producing areas last year.
Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin, administrator of the SRA, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, said sugar production from September to December 2012 had already reached 37 percent of the target or 872, 978.87 MT.
Sugar output so far was 27.19 percent more than the production recorded in the same period in the previous crop year.
The increase in production was attributed to the industry’s early milling, higher rate of crushing and generally favorable weather conditions in the last quarter of 2012.
Martin said typhoons Pablo and Quinta that hit the Philippines last December largely spared the sugar-producing areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Meanwhile, based on SRA records, sugar withdrawals for domestic use from September to December increased by 28.61 percent for raw sugar and 22.80 percent for refined sugar.
Consumption is expected to increase this year due to stable sugar prices and the approaching mid-term elections, which is usually accompanied by increased spending and consumption.
Martin also expressed confidence that Philippine sugar will continue to be a dollar earner of the country with ready exports to major markets such as the United States.
The official said shipments under the US Quota program will start this month, while exports to other countries had already reached more than 20,000 MT.
SRA, however, anticipates a surplus in world sugar supply as a result of favorable crushing and weather conditions in some of the major sugar producing countries such as Brazil, India and Thailand.
Although ample world supply will put pressure on sugar prices, Martin said the SRA hoped that domestic prices would remain stable, as shown in the price movements over the past months.
“The need to increase productivity and reduce cost of production is even more imperative now,” Martin said in a statement.
She noted that with the import tariffs at 18 percent starting Jan. 1, 2013, the industry must keep a watchful eye on the impact of the world market situation on local prices.