• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Philippine Sugar Millers’ Association Inc. (PSMA) welcomed the statement of Sugar Regulatory Administrator head Pablo Luis Azcona that there is no need to import sugar, based on current demand figures.
“Demand-withdrawals have been slow since the start of the season. Based on the latest figures of SRA, as of December 3, 2023, raw sugar and refined sugar withdrawals are down 23 percent and 10 percent, respectively, year-on-year, said Jesus Barrera, PSMA Executive Director.
In a statement, Barrera explained, “we have entered the height of milling with practically all sugar mills in operation and producing sugar. With such weak demand, our physical inventories are building up as we are adding more stocks every week. Yes, there is no need to add more sugar from imports.”
He reported that the prices of sugar in the past two weeks slipped to P2,390 to P2,500 per bag, which adds to the woes of the sugar industry.
“Given sluggish demand and reduced prices, sugar producers see no justification for importing sugar, as any additional imports would worsen and prolong their current predicament.” Barrera further said.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Azcona said that the national government is ‘seriously considering’ buying sugar from the sugar farmers, as he also assured sugar industry stakeholders that there are no plans of additional importation.
These moves are aimed at addressing the continuing plunge of sugar prices in the country and lowering retail prices at the same time, Azcona added.*