By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has resolved to address the country’s declining local sugar output by partnering with private sector-led Philippine Sugar Research Institute (PHILSURIN).
A statement showed that SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica and PHILSURIN Executive Director Maria Regina Bautista-Martin have agreed to collaborate to address the most crucial issue on low farm yields.
The collaboration includes the upgrading of PHILSURIN Research Laboratory. As part of this, SRA will fund the acquisition of various laboratory equipment of PHILSURIN for its breeding projects and extension services to the farmers in proximate sugarcane mill districts.
Serafica and Martin, who previously served as SRA Administrator during the Aquino administration, agreed that SRA and the industry players have the resources and expertise, which can be bundled into one to make the industry competitive in year 2020 and beyond.
Low farm productivity, according to them, can be addressed through the joint efforts of industry players and sugar end users, specifically the beverage manufacturers which are large consumers of sugar.
PHILSURIN, to be specific, has the technical expertise in varietal improvement, while both SRA and PHILSURIN have the high-yielding sugarcane varieties which can be propagated and distributed to the sugarcane seed farms of PHILSURIN and the Mill District Development Councils (MDDCs).
SRA and PHILSURIN also agreed to come up with regional benchmarking of best practices in sugarcane farming.
To be specific, the best practices and modern technologies at the various sugarcane regions will be surveyed and packaged as a training material in sugarcane farming.
The output of the benchmarking project will be used in roadshows or incorporated in the training modules of Outreach Program of the Sugarcane Industry (OPSI) and TESDA-accredited training centers.
As part of their partnership, SRA and PHILSURIN will also engage in capacity building to be led by SIMAG Foundation and Planters Associations.