‘Conduct inventory of PH stock before importing more sugar’

Sugar leaders Enrique Rojas, Aurelio Valderrama Jr. and Manuel Lamata (l-r)*

Government’s additional importation of sugar “to stabilize the price and boost the country’s stock” drew mixed reactions from industry leaders on Tuesday, May 16.

“We agreed to additional importation of sugar to stabilize the prices. Maximum amount will be 150,000 MT but probably less,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced on Monday after meeting with Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) officials.

Manuel Lamata, United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines president, said he also believes the country still lacks 150,000 MT of sugar.

“Since the president wants milling to start September 1, we need that to cover August and September. The president sees the September start to milling will increase yields so thereby we would not need to import a lot”, Lamata added.

Enrique Rojas, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters president, said before deciding on the importation, SRA should conduct a thorough inventory of sugar stocks, including the latest approved importation of 440,000 metric tons.

“If there is indeed a shortfall even with the latest approved importation, then we should import only the exact amount of the shortfall for this crop year,” Rojas said.

SRA should also ensure that the importation should arrive before the opening of next crop year, so that the additional imports will not affect sugar prices when the next milling season opens, he said.

The additional importation should be open to all traders, instead of just a select few, Rojas added.

Aurelio Valderrama Jr., Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Associations president, said “while we wait for the final (Philippine sugar) production report CONFED has no comment as of this time”.*

“The exact amount (to be imported) will be determined once we have determined the exact amount of supply, which will come at the end of this month,” Marcos said Monday.

He also said the importation of sugar will be open to all traders.*

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