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Philippines OKs importation of 200K metric tons of refined sugar

The Philippines will be importing 200,000 metric tons (MT) of refined sugar to augment a projected supply shortfall for the year, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said Tuesday.

In a statement, SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica said the agency’s board issued Sugar Order No. 3 for Crop Year 2021-2022.

A crop year starts September 1 and ends August 31 of the following year.

The order allows the importation of 200,000 metric tons of standard and bottler’s grade refined sugar “considering the shortfall on the ending balance of refined sugar.”

After assessing the damage caused by Typhoon Odette to sugarcane crops, sugar stocks at warehouses, as well as facilities and equipment of sugar mills and refineries in key sugar milling districts, the SRA chief said it recalibrated its pre-final crop estimate of raw sugar production to 2.072 million MT down from the 2.099 million MT pre-final crop estimate prior to the onslaught of the typhoon.

Serafica said the importation order is pursuant to its mandate to establish and maintain balanced relation between production and requirement of sugar and marketing conditions to ensure stabilized prices.

In addition, the Philippine Association of Sugar Refineries also revised its refined sugar production forecast for Crop Year 2021-2022 to 16.748 million LKg, down from the initial production estimate of 17.572 million LKg before Odette, according to the SRA.

One LKg is equivalent to a 50-kilogram bag of sugar.

The SRA chief said the importation of 200,00 MT of refined sugar will cover the shortfall on the supply and “will leave the country with enough buffer stock to tide over until the start of the next milling season.”

“As the economy is once again starting to open up, the demand for raw sugar and refined sugar for January this year have also increased when compared to the same month in the three previous years,” Serafica said.

“Hence the need to augment sugar stocks to ensure food security and availability of sugar to cover sugar demand until the next crop year or milling season begins again,” he added.

During a stakeholder’s consultation conducted by SRA, Serafica said stakeholders posed no objection to an importation program, while they recommended its mechanics, type of sugar to be imported, and arrival dates of shipments, among others, Serafica said.

Eligible participants to this open and voluntary importation program are industrial users of refined sugar in good standing that are duly registered international traders, he said.

He added that an industrial user that is not registered with SRA as an international trader, may appoint an international sugar trader in good standing to import for its account.

“Complete applications may be filed with the SRA Regulation Department either in Quezon City or in Bacolod City not later than 5 pm on February 14, 2022,” Serafica said. — RSJ, GMA News