The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has allowed the reclassification of “A sugar,” or United States-export sugar, to “B sugar” or domestic market sugar, to ensure stable supply in the local market amid an increase in demand.
SRA Administrator Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin issued Sugar Order 11-15, reallocating some 68,681 metric tons of US export sugar to the domestic market as demand rose by about 3 percent at the end of the current crop year.
“We have verified that there are about 68,681 metric tons of US export sugar that are qualified for the conversion. It is in the national interest to institute measures that will bring about stabilized prices of domestic sugar, which are fair to consumers and reasonable to producers,” Martin said.
It has been the fourth time this current crop year that the regulator allowed conversion/reclassification of sugar intended for exports as the projected sugar buffer stock may hit a critical level.
A sugar crop year in the Philippines starts September and ends August.
For crop year ending August 2015, the Philippines was able to produce 2.316 million MT – short of the target 2.46 million MT. This was due to the unfavorable weather conditions that affected major sugarcane plantations, particularly in the Visayas region. The prolonged dry spell toward the end of the current crop year also affected sugarcane crops.
On the other hand, domestic demand for the sweetener – based on per capita consumption of 25 kilos for 88 million Filipinos – stands at about 2.25 million MT.
Martin said that the conversion program for sugar planters and millers, who have produced “A” sugar in crop year 2014-2015, would be subject to certain conditions.
“Conversion rights for crop year 2014-2015 can be sold, assigned or consolidated.
However, the rights covered by the order must be exercised not later than August 28, 2015,” she said, adding that those who fail to exercise the conversion rights by the deadline will not be given an extension.
The SRA chief said that the conversion program will be voluntary to planters, millers and traders holding “A” raw sugar quedans issued in crop year 2014-2015. But she stressed that US sugar quedans that were unverified before July 31, 2015 shall not be eligible/accepted for conversion.
The agency will also charge a fee of P10 for every kilo of US sugar converted into domestic sugar.