SRA Board approves 440,000 MT of sugar imports

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MANILA — The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Board has approved a sugar importation plan of 440,000 metric tons of refined sugar, meant to bump up supply and stabilize prices of the sweetener this year.

The approved volume, which was within the 400,000-450,000 MT range proposed last month, was approved during the SRA Board meeting yesterday, SRA Board member-planters’ representative Pablo Luis Azcona said in a phone interview.

When asked about the Sugar Order, he said this is still for publication and will be released by the Office of the President.

“It’s now approved and signed by the SRA Board but it still has to pass through Malacañang for final issuance,” the board member said.

Of the total amount, Azcona said 200,000 MT will be allocated for end-users while 240,000 MT will be set as two-month buffer stock.

“The forecasted consumption is 120,000 MT per month, so that will cover the two-month buffer stock,” he said.

Reacting to the approved importation plan, United Sugar Producers Federation president Manuel Lamata said this would hopefully pull down retail prices of sugar.

“I am supporting the importation of 440,000 MT of refined [sugar]. That should bring down retail prices to a reasonable price because there is no more speculation by the traders,” he said.

Once imported, the refined sugar allocated for end-users should be released immediately to reduce prices.

“The buffer stock of 240,000 MT [should be] released… after the harvest season is over,” Lamata said.

Last month, soft drinks manufacturers asked President Marcos “to put in place a supplemental importation program in the first quarter of 2023” to prevent another sugar crisis and stabilize sugar prices.

Sugar planters’ groups said they recognized that there is a projected shortage in domestic sugar production versus consumption at the onset of the milling season.

However, the sugar industry urged the SRA to provide safeguards to ensure that the volume and arrival of the buffer stock will be calibrated so as not to depress domestic millgate prices.

The Confederation of Sugar Producers Association earlier said the importation volume should be composed of 300,000 MT refined sugar and 50,000 MT raw sugar to arrive not earlier than July.

The National Federation of Sugarcane Planters and Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, on the other hand, were pushing for the importation of only 350,000 MT to arrive in two tranches of 175,000 MT each in July and August.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.