La Niña seen reducing sugar yield in ’21 crop year
Local sugar output is expected to drop by 2 percent this crop year due to climate change and farmers’ shift to more profitable crops.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Philippines’ sugar output for the current crop year beginning in September may only reach 2.14 million metric tons (MT) from the previous year’s 2.15 million MT.
The agency said in a report that the decline would be primarily due to the onset of the La Niña weather phenomenon in October or November this year that is characterized by above-above rainfall, which can adversely impact the growth of sugarcane.
The USDA also reported that farmlands dedicated to growing sugarcane in the Philippines may dip to 390,000 hectares this crop year from 403,000 ha the previous crop year—a trend that has been dampening sugar output and productivity.
“Sugarcane areas have been declining over the years mainly in favor of corn, bananas and other crops,” the USDA said.
It stressed, however, that the government’s sugarcane roadmap aims to address this by improving farm productivity through high-yielding varieties, continuous genetic improvement and technology adoption.
In response to the expected decrease in sugar output, the Sugar Regulatory Administration scrapped the export allocation this crop year to the United States.
This means all domestic production will be solely used for the domestic market—either for household or industrial use.
In a previous report, the USDA said that the country’s production of the sweetener may also be affected by the government’s proposal to liberalize the industry, although this has yet to gain ground.
—Karl R. Ocampo
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