The Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) has further trimmed down its sugar allocations to the world market to ensure stable supply of the sweetener for domestic use.
SRA Administrator Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin said the sugar board has allowed the reallocation of “D sugar” or world market sugar to “B sugar” or domestic market sugar to meet the increasing local demand amid tightness of supply in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“This is a win-win for both producers and consumers as we maintain a healthy balance between profit for farmers and manufacturers and ensure stable retail prices of sugar for households,” Martin told reporters.
From six percent, world market sugar will be slashed down to just two percent of the total production from crop year 2013-2014, while domestic sugar will increase from 92 percent to 96 percent.
The SRA, on the other hand, retained the two percent allocation for “A sugar” or the US sugar quota in line with its commitment to the World Trade Organization.
The agency earlier lowered production targets to 2.356 million metric tons (MT) for the current crop year from 2.45 million MT after super typhoon Yolanda devastated several sugar producing areas in the Visayas.
In early February, the agency reallocated two percent for US quota sugar, six percent for world market sugar, and 92 percent for domestic market.
Martin said that the new reallocation scheme is necessary to prevent the country’s sugar buffer stock from hitting a critical level by end of the crop year in August.
The SRA chief also noted that domestic sugar continued to enjoy premium millgate prices at P1,530 per MT as compared to just P830 per MT for US sugar quota and P850 per MT for world market sugar.
Retail prices of raw sugar averaged P40 per kilogram, while refined sugar was pegged at P47 per kilogram as of last week.
“Prices of sugar in the retail market has been stable for the past three years because we are able to maintain a healthy supply, as properly allocated enough volume for exports,” Martin said.
As of March 6, the country’s sugar production has already reached 1.878 million MT, nearing the 2.356 million MT target for the current crop year.
“We are confident to hit our target with all mills operating. Also, there are about 25-30 percent sugarcane crops standing and yet to be milled,” she said, adding that milling season is expected to end by May.
Of the total sugar production, about 50-60 percent goes to industrial users, while 30-40 percent to wet markets and groceries.
In a related development, Martin said that they have allowed all future production in areas affected by Yolanda, and are currently under the state of calamity, to be milled 100 percent for local consumption.
Five sugar mills—including Central Azucarera de San Antonio in Iloilo, HISUMCO in Leyte, Capiz in Panay, URC Passi, and Bogo Medillin in Cebu—will be quedanning 100 percent B sugar, or a total of 154,806 bags dedicated for local consumption.
“But more than filling the gap of projected tight domestic sugar supply, the emphasis is on the estimated P110 million producers compensation out of purely B sugar sales, as the amount can pump-prime a new their economic activities,” Martin said.
Also, all government financial institutions have granted a six-month moratorium on loan payments and extended interest-free loans to farmers and entities affected by the calamity.