THE coming year brings with it greater challenges for the sugarcane industry—from the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA), dwindling farm areas and severe weather conditions brought about by the El Niño phenomenon, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said.
“The need to produce more sugar, efficiently, productively at lower cost is paramount in the face of these challenges,” SRA Administrator Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin said.
But Martin expressed confidence that the sugarcane industry is ready to face these challenges with the Sugarcane Industry Road Map to provide direction and the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA) making available much needed support for our small farmers.
She said SRA will commence full implementation of the Sugarcane Act, focusing on R&D and strengthening of mill districts as well as intensifying the Block Farm program to increase production and improve farm efficiency.
“Our Bottoms up Budget approach supports the inclusive growth of the total development of the entire sugarcane industry,” she added.
Supported by funds from SIDA through the different government agencies, the SRA chief said that organized farmers at mill district level continue to identify the growth and development needs of their districts and mobilize measures against El Nino.
She noted that climate conditions and weather patterns are the major factors that will determine the outcome of sugarcane yields in 2016.
“If climate and weather pattern are favorable for sugarcane growth and sucrose formation, then we see a better harvest of sugarcane which can cater to the production of sugar enough for the needs of our sugar markets—the domestic requirement, the US quota and the world market,” she said.