Despite the recent decision of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to temporarily halt the shipment of local sugar output to the United States, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri still proceeded to tell the agency to make sure the country will have enough supply of the sweetener for this year.
In a statement, Zubiri said the SRA must ensure the country has enough domestic sugar supply “to tide us over till the next crop year.”
In the Philippines, the sugar crop year starts in September and ends in August of the following year.
Zubiri also said he was “thankful” that the SRA finally saw the need to terminate the ‘A’ sugar allocation as figures from the ground show that the targeted sugar production may not be met for this crop year.
‘A’ sugar is the classification for local sugar output that is set aside for exports to the US. ‘A’ sugar is priced lower than B sugar.
Last month, SRA released Sugar Order (SO) 1-A, amending SO 1, which first allotted 7 percent of the country’s forecasted sugar production for the year to ‘A’ sugar.
So 1-A then classified 100 percent of the sugar production as ‘B’ sugar, which is allotted for local consumption.
Zubiri said that he has been “harping on the A sugar issue for the last two years.
“While I am not against it, I have been stressing that before the A sugar program will even be considered, we must be cognizant of local supply,” Zubiri said.
SRA initially projected that national production for the current crop year will be 2.190 million metric tons (MT) but new figures showed that production will drop by about 90,000 MT.
“I have been calling for the real-time assessment of production given the many disasters we’ve had since last year till early this year when Negros Occidental experienced flooding,” Zubiri said.
He added that with the milling season about to end, “SRA must ensure that supply is enough for domestic needs”.
“Let’s prioritize our own needs first,” he added.
Meanwhile, the senator encouraged industry stakeholders to hang tight as the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.
“Let us work together and remain steadfast in this battle against COVID-19. We are all in survival mode but in unity and with the public and private sector helping each other, I am positive that we will surpass this too,” Zubiri said.