Digicast Negros

Sugar planters praying for rain to save crops

Sugar leaders Enrique Rojas, Manuel Lamata and Aurelio Valderrama Jr.*

Sugar planters are praying the rains will come soon to help their crops recover.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration on Friday said the drought damage to sugar and molasses in Western Visayas was P215,700,114, with Negros Occidental the hardest hit at P200,178,856.

“We have received reports from our planter-members that the drought had substantially decreased the tonnage of their cane harvest this crop year. Even their new plantings for the next crop year had been adversely affected,” Enrique Rojas, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters president, said.

“The drought will definitely have a significant impact on the sugar industry, but until SRA comes up with the latest production report for this crop year and the preliminary production estimate for next crop year, we cannot accurately quantify the drought’s effects,” he added.

These past days, some areas in Negros have experienced scattered rain, Rojas said.

“This bodes well for the industry, because it means that the drought is at its end and the rainy season is just around the corner,” he said.

“We can only pray and hope for the best that the rains will come soon enough and plenty enough, and that our crops can still recover from the damage of the drought,” Rojas said.

Manuel Lamata, United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) president, said the drought will reduce cane tonnage and yield.

Aurelio Valderrama Jr., Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Associations Inc., said the drought will cause a possible delay in the opening of the milling season and a drop in production.*

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