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SRA expects drop in domestic sugar prices

January 23 ------ Following consultations with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), and other stakeholders, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) expects the lowering of the price of refined sugar. SRA Administrator Pablo Azcona told reporters that they have been seeking farmers’ recommendations on how to roll out fair sugar prices that protect both consumers and makers, as well as achieve the P85 retail price for refined sugar. “Currently, the farmers are hoping for maybe P2,700 [per 50-kilo] bag or better,” Azcona said. “If the purchase price is about P2,800, we can retail the price of refined sugar safely to P85.” 


Azcona also noted that sugar farmers are also asking for an additional budget, stating that the SRA will utilize PITC’s sugar purchase as an additional buffer stock. The buffer stock for sugar would secure the manufacturers, like beverage companies, to have enough supply. The SRA expects the budget for sugar purchasing to reach P5 billion, as it was recently approved by the government. This would purchase around 10 percent to 15 percent of the remaining production. 


The sugar agency is also running the numbers to determine the amount needed in the buffer stock and how much will be allocated to retail. Azcona emphasized that despite pursuing retail allocation, this could result in slower sales, and therefore will look into buffering until they can be released by the milling season to ensure decent supply. When asked about the contrasting retail and farmgate prices, the SRA chief shared that meetings will be held with the National Price Council (NPC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “For now we have ample and stable supply so there is no reason for high sugar prices,” he ensured. 


In relation to their plans on importing sugar, the industry is awaiting Washington's response after sending out the necessary letters. Despite this, Azcona said that sugar importation is not necessary based on the current demand numbers. He also said that harvest season draws faster this year, as the SRA expects to reach one million metric tons of sugar would be completed in about four in a half months. Meanwhile, Azcona encouraged purchasing sugar from farmers during the months of September until May, or the end of milling season. 




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