Sugar industry seeking to resume exports to US

Sugar industry seeking to resume exports to US

THE Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is considering allowing sugar exports to the US due to requests from the industry.

“Those producers, millers and traders who are volunteering to export are saying that they can deliver about 30,000 or 60,000 metric tons (MT) of (raw sugar to the US),” SRA Administrator Pablo Luis S. Azcona told reporters last week.

The US has a sugar allocation for the Philippines amounting to 145,235 metric tons raw value for the crop year Oct. 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2024.

Mr. Azcona added that about six to eight traders, millers, and producers are currently in talks with the regulator to meet the US quota.

“They think that it is really necessary that the US quota not be lost,” he said.

He said farmers have been unwilling to sell their sugar for export to the US, where prices are lower than what they can realize by trading in the domestic market.

“Since it is voluntary, the traders and exporters volunteered. The farmers are not affected here,” he added.

Earlier, Mr. Azcona said that the SRA is studying whether to meet the US quota for raw sugar, with industry policy currently geared towards serving the domestic market.

He added that the US quota has not been used in the past three years.

The Philippines shipped about 112,008 MT of raw sugar to the US during the 2020-2021 crop year, according to the SRA.

The regulator has projected a possible 10-15% decline in raw sugar production due to El Niño. Official estimates place production at 1.85 million MT for the crop year.

The SRA issued Sugar Order No. 1 in September reserving the entire crop for domestic use only.

A strong El Niño is projected to continue until January and is expected to persist until May 2024, according to the government weather service, known as PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration). — Adrian H. Halili