Sugar millers back SRA no sugar importation

By Dolly Yasa

Bacolod City – The Philippine Sugar Millers’ Association, Inc. (PSMA) aired support for the stand of Sugar Regulatory Administrator Paul Azcona not to import sugar amid plummeting prices.

Based on current demand figures, there is no need to import sugar, PSMA executive director Jesus Barrera said in a press statement furnished to the media before the holidays.

“Demand-withdrawals have been slow since the start of the season. Based on the latest figures of SRA, as of December 3, 2023, raw sugar and refined sugar withdrawals are down 23% and 10%, respectively, year-on-year, Barrera further said.

He pointed out that “we have entered the height of milling with practically all sugar mills in operation and producing sugar.”

Barrera also said that with such weak demand, “our physical inventories are building up as we are adding more stocks every week.”

“Yes, there is no need to add more sugar from imports. We welcome that statement of SRA,” Barrera added.

He said that adding to the woes of the sugar industry is that farmgate prices have gone down as well.

“From P 3,000 per bag at the start of the crop year in August, prices slipped to P2,390 to P2,500 this past two weeks. Given sluggish demand and reduced prices, sugar producers see no justification for importing sugar, as any additional imports would worsen and prolong their current predicament,” Barrera pointed out.

Earlier, Azcona said the national government is seriously studying to buy sugar directly from the farmers to address the clamor of sugar producers against plummeting prices.

Azcona also told reporters that so far, there will be no sugar importation.

He pointed out importation is being put on hold because this will further pull down the price of sugar.

Azcona assured though there is enough supply of sugar.