MANILA (Mabuhay) – The sugar industry is experiencing production delays because of the storms last year, but this should not be a cause for alarm because there is enough supply of the commodity in the domestic market and higher prices are not warranted, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said Monday.
Prices of the commodity are high “… despite the fact that we will have enough sugar stocks to meet our domestic demand,” SRA Administrator Ma. Regina B. Martin said in a statement.
Based on SRA’s latest weekly monitoring as of March 30, prices of “B” sugar for domestic consumption rose to P1,571.69 per metric ton (MT) from P1,536.61 per MT.
In a phone interview with GMA News Online, Martin said there are speculator-traders anticipating a supply shortage that is prompting millgate (or wholesale) prices to go up.
“But the rise in prices does not equate to tightening or lack of supply. We have sufficient supply for the domestic market,” the SRA chief said.
This year, the agency is confident of hitting 2.356 million metric tons for crop year 2013 to 2014. The target was cut from the earlier goal of 2.434 million MT on account of storms that hit the country in late 2013.
The crop year starts in September and ends in August.
“The delay is due to storms, mainly Typhoon Yolanda,” Martin said. “About 60 percent of our sugar come from the Visayas. Harvest was delayed as cane cutters were victims of the storms,” Martin noted.
“There was also a 30 to 40 percent drop in production but we’re already 92 percent of our target for this crop year,” she added.
Typhoon Yolanda – the strongest to make landfall on record – barreled through Central Philippines last November.
Martin said the SRA is closely monitoring sugar production and withdrawal, including shipments and sugar movements, while verifying the physical stocks in warehouses. (MNS)