P2-B budget sought for sugar industry in 2024 | Inquirer Business

P2-B budget sought for sugar industry in 2024

VICTORIAS CITY, Negros Occidental —The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is pushing for a greater budget of P2 billion to support sugarcane industry development through various initiatives in 2024, its top official said.

SRA administrator Pablo Luis Azcona said the agency was seeking approval to restore the P2-billion fund to promote the competitiveness of the sugar industry under the Sugar Industry Development Act (Sida). This will be double the agency’s budget of P1 billion this year.

“This year, we were able to have it approved by March, so we have a lot more time to do projects, and then what we are trying to do now is before the year ends, try to seek approval already for the 2024 [budget],” Azcona said in a briefing.


In the past, he said the annual budget would usually be approved only by August or September.


“So it is difficult to spend it when you get approval August or September, and you only have until December,” he told reporters.

Funding requirements

Azcona said it was  “very important” to restore the original funding for Sida as “everything will double up.” He noted that half of the money would fund farm-to-market roads (FMRs).

Apart from FMRs, the other 50 percent will be earmarked for: research and mechanization (30 percent), socialized credit (30 percent), block farms (30 percent) and scholarships (10 percent).

“Currently, the block farm budget is fully utilized, and our scholarships and FMR are fully utilized. The only part that we hope we can fully utilize is the socialized credit,” he said.

Over the years, the SRA’s budget allocation has been declining primarily due to inefficient utilization. Azcona, for instance, cited a big delay in equipment procurement amounting to P500 million spanning three years.

“At present, the SRA itself is conducting all the biddings, so we are doing everything,” he said.


The SRA is also working to scale up production by rejuvenating the soil in a scientific manner. He noted that the industry had been “very wasteful in practice with fertilization and everything.”

Republic Act No. 10659, or the Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015, was enacted to boost the competitiveness of the sugarcane industry, maximize the utilization of sugarcane resources and improve incomes of farmers and farm workers.

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The law aims to achieve these through improved productivity, product diversification, job generation and increased efficiency of sugar mills. INQ

TAGS: Budget, sugar industry, Sugar Regulatory Administration

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