SRA sees industry growth, better farmgate sugar prices

BACOLOD City – The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is optimistic about growth in the sugar industry that will result in better farmgate sugar prices amid the expected decrease in production of major sugar-producing countries.

SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona said India and Thailand are not keen on exporting sugar and “this scenario will prompt good prices for local sugar”.

“We continue to be positive of growth in the sugar industry. We are moving to ensure stable farmgate prices as this has shown a net increase in sugar planted areas because of last year’s good prices,” he said in a statement Tuesday night.

Azcona, who attended the 2023 Sugarex, Asia’s largest sugar, sugarcane and bioethanol event in Thailand last week, said the neighboring Southeast Asian country “will have a 30 percent drop in production, which will be their lowest in the last 10 years” as stated by Thai Sugar Millers Corp. director Rangsit Hiangrat.

India is also declaring that they will “not be exporting sugar this year but may need to import close to a million tons for their needs,” he added.

“These two big sugar exporters alone have driven world market prices up, which is why it was surprising that our local farmgate price dropped last week. We are looking into the possibility of trade manipulation,” the SRA chief said.

Azcona said that Brazil, one of the biggest sugar-producing countries, also declared it “may put any excess sugar they have for fuel use or energy”.

“The global situation is a clear indicator that we cannot kill the local industry and be import-dependent as the world production continues to decline,” he said.

He urged sugar industry stakeholders to “put more effort into supply security through self-sufficiency and not import dependence”.

“This administration clearly understands the need for sustainable local production as well as a great effort towards production improvement through modernization, mechanization, research and consolidation. Barring any severe El Niño, we may have the same or slightly better produce this year,” Azcona said.

The SRA said Sugar Order No. 1, released on Sept. 11, estimated the total raw sugar production for the crop year 2023-2024 at 1.85 million tons.

Being considered is an estimated drop of 10 to 15 percent, depending on the severity of the El Niño phenomenon, which the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) has determined for the crop year. (PNA)