Lower sugar prices seen in September as sugar cane milling season begins

The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) sees a gradual dip in sugar prices in the domestic market when sugar cane milling starts next month (September).

In a radio interview Saturday, PCAFI president Danilo Fausto said sugar millers have a combined capacity of 8,000 metric tons (MT) per day.

He said the importation of 200,000 MT through Sugar Order (SO) No. 3 issued in February has entered the local market and should help in improving local supplies and taming sugar prices.

“We have imported 200,000 metric tons from May to July. About 86 to 90% of those already arrived. So I think these can cover the demand because I know sugar mills will start milling by next week, so local supply will now be augmented,” he said.

Fausto, however, is uncertain on how much the decline of sugar prices will be as other factors, such as oil and fertilizer prices, need to be considered.

The Sugar Regulatory Authority approved the importation of 200,000 MT of sugar through SO No. 3 amid the impacts of December 2021’s Typhoon Odette and other natural disasters on sugar farmers and millers.

Some 2.1 million MT were expected to be produced, but production fell to around 1.8 to 1.9 million MT due to typhoons in the latter part of the previous year, he said.

Fausto added that about 50% of the produced sugar goes to industrial users, 30% to household consumers, and 20% to institutions, like restaurants and hospitals.

As supply is expected to be augmented in the coming months, the PCAFI chief supported the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to block the new 300,000 MT sugar importation. “The President is right in blocking the 300,000 MT because milling and harvest will soon start,” he stressed.

Fausto said sugar importation should be calibrated and no importation should be made the harvest and milling  season as this will put local producers and workers in the industry at a disadvantage.

Fausto estimates that the sugar industry directly employs some 700,000 and indirectly employs between about five to six million workers, who will likely lose their jobs to mindless importation.