The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said the draft order approving 350,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar was intended to cut off domestic supply due to shortages in local production.
Administrator Hermenegildo R. Serafica said in a statement on Monday: “What importers have failed to consider is the issue of food security, in particular, the availability of supplies and the purchasing power of sugar.”
“As the demand for sugar increases due to the opening up of the economy, the SRA has determined that in the coming months, especially from June to August, there will not be enough local production of sugar to meet our domestic consumption. , He added.
The SRA has recently introduced Sugar Order No. 4, which calls for the importation of 250,000 metric tons of refined sugar, of which 150,000 metric tons are premium grade or bottled refined sugar. The remaining 100,000 metric tons will be raw sugar.
Mr Serafika said natural disasters and disrupted planting schedules were behind weak domestic production, pushing up sugar prices.
In addition to Typhoon Odet (international name: Rai) in December, he said that other weather disruptions affecting the sugar crop due to La Nina weather were excess rainfall and loss of sunlight.
“Another effect of the rise in sugar prices is that farmers are rushing to their sugarcane mills when prices have risen even though the cane is not yet fully mature; Thus (yield) less tonnage and amount of sugar. As a result, in addition to producing less sugar than last year’s crop, milling will also end earlier than expected, “he added.
Mr Serafika said imports were being opposed by “selfish” parties, adding: “The issue of sugar imports has become very political. There are no midnight or romantic deals. I will always do what I believe is right for the greater good. As a government agency, the SRA has an order to ensure food security. ”
The import program is being challenged in the Negros Occidental Regional Court of Justice by sugar farmers who have received preliminary bans against previous import orders. – Luisa Maria Jacinta c. Jackson