PH farmers decry glut in imported sugar | Inquirer Business

PH farmers decry glut in imported sugar

LA CARLOTA CITY—Sugar planters are pushing for a calibrated importation of refined sugar to protect the livelihood of local farmers who are already reeling from low prices.

“We … need to calibrate the importation (so that we don’t overstock),” Vimaca Farmers Producers Cooperative (Vimaca) regional manager John Pedrosa said in an interview on Thursday.

He said the decline in selling prices, amid the influx of imports, was forcing the cooperative to sell its produce at prices much lower than the asking or floor price.


Pedrosa noted that at the beginning of the milling season, the country already had approximately 10 million bags of imported refined sugar. An additional 2 million bags were on the way, he said.


“You can just imagine how it’s going to affect the prices because there’s an over-importation of refined sugar and it has also affected the cost of the raw [sugar],” he added.

According to SRA board member David Andrew Sanson, who represents planters at the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) board, the best time to import refined sugar is right after the milling season, which begins in September and ends between April and May the following year. For crop year 2023 to 2024, the milling season began last Sept. 1 and will end on Aug. 31, 2024.

“After the milling [season], you’ll know the [volume of refined sugar to be sourced abroad] … only then should we import,” he told reporters here.

Sanson said the Philippines should only import between 200,000 metric tons (MT) and 300,000 MT, enough to fill the supply gap and build buffer stock.

The SRA pegged raw sugar production this year at 1.85 million metric tons (MT) against an estimated consumption of 2.20 million MT. The entire output was earmarked for “B,” or domestic market.

SRA recently halted the release of 150,000 MT of imported refined sugar, hoping to arrest the decline in farm-gate prices, or the selling price between farmers and traders.


In a Sept. 26 resolution but released only the other day, the SRA said the board decided to “hold in abeyance” all applications to reclassify, distribute and dispose imported refined sugar “until further notice.” INQ

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TAGS: Business, importation, sugar, supply

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