PH likely to import more sugar | Inquirer Business
USDA forecasts decline in output

PH likely to import more sugar

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MANILA  -The El Niño phenomenon may curb the Philippines’ sugar production and thus prompt more importation of this commodity despite lofty prices this crop year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected.

In a report, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) estimated that the country’s raw sugar production for marketing year 2024 that began in September would reach 1.8 million metric tons (MT), slightly higher than the sugar output of 1.79 million MT recorded by the agency for marketing year 2023.

The volume is not too far from the 1.85 million MT forecast of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) for crop year 2023-2024.


“Declining sugarcane planting areas and weather disturbances including the ongoing El Niño are expected to affect sugar production,” the USDA-FAS report said.


The SRA earlier said local production might increase or decrease by 10 to 15 percent depending on the severity of the El Niño phenomenon.

READ: Solon urges direct sugar importation; claims looming El Niño threatens production

The foreign agency also attributed the expected decline to the closure of Central Azucarera Don Pedro Inc. (CADP) sugar mill in Batangas, which reduced areas for planting sugarcane now estimated at 385,000 hectares.

“Despite the loss of area in Luzon, expansion in sugarcane areas in Mindanao will partly compensate for the sugarcane farms covered by CADP, about 10,500 hectares,” the USDA-FAS said.

“The prevailing high prices will continue to encourage farmers to plant sugarcane instead of shifting to other crops like corn, cassava and banana. Sugarcane planting normally starts in October and ends in May. Some farmers in Batangas continue to plant sugarcane to supply other sugar mill and bioethanol producers,” it added.

READ: Sugar workers, planters protest mill shutdown in Batangas


The USDA-FAS maintained its outlook on refined sugar imports at 240,000 MT, which already included some 150,000 MT authorized by President Marcos previously to stabilize prices and build inventory.

Still no export

The Philippines, however, is not anticipated to export sugar as the SRA allocated the entire sugar output to the domestic market to stabilize supply.

The USDA-FAS previously said that limited exports could happen in the current marketing year with the high carryover stocks due to importation.

Last month, SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona said the agency was soliciting inputs from stakeholders to assess if the industry can finally export sugar to the United States this time.

For this crop year, the SRA will continue periodic assessment to adjust percentage allocation and distribution, as needed.

The Philippines last delivered sugar to the US in crop year 2020-2021, shipping out 112,008 MT of raw sugar then.

Even so, the US Trade Representative kept the country’s raw cane sugar export quota at 145,235 metric tons raw value for fiscal year 2024.

At the same time, the USDA-FAS is not expecting the government to authorize raw sugar importation to protect local producers.

The United States has an agreement with the World Trade Organization to import at lower tariffs a certain volume of sugar from countries including the Philippines.

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Meanwhile, the country’s demand for sugar is unchanged at 2.2 million MT as high prices discourage increases in consumption. INQ

TAGS: Business, El Niño, importation, Philippines, sugar

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