Sugar leaders slam SRA for drop in sugar prices

The Sugar Alliance of the Philippines (SAP) blames the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) for the drop in domestic sugar prices during yesterday's bidding.

"In the first place, SRA allowed the unregulated entry of 280,000 metric tons of high fructose corn syrup at the start of the current milling season. This directly resulted to the low sugar prices at the start of the crop year. Prices that were at P1,650 went down to P1,250, a drop of P400 per bag," the SAP said in its statement.

"The continued entry of HFCS makes a mockery of Sugar Order No. 3, issued by previous SRA Administrator Anna Paner, which strictly regulated the importation and use of HFCS," the SAP added.

"Worse, SRA issued a new sugar order last week, which revised the sugar allocation, without listening to the recommendation of the Sugar Alliance, which represent more than 70% of the sugar industry. Because of this, domestic sugar prices dropped from P1,430 last week to only P1,390 in yesterday's bidding," the SAP pointed out.

The drop in domestic sugar prices could have been averted, if SRA only listened to the recommendation of the planters federations. If SRA listened to the recommendation of the substantial majority of sugar producers, domestic prices might have increased and farmers would have enjoyed a higher composite price, according to the SAP.

Under Sugar Order No. 1 issued last August 31, 2017, sugar production was allocated at 10% for "A" sugar (US Quota), 80% for "B" sugar (domestic market) and 10% for "D" sugar (World Market).

The allocation, which took effect last September 1, 2017, was revised by Sugar Order No. 1-A, issued last January 25 and took effect on sugar production for Week Ending January 28.

The revised allocation drastically increased the "B" sugar allocation from 80% to 93%, while reducing the "A" sugar allocation from 10% to 6 % and the "D" sugar allocation from 10% to 1%.

The Sugar Alliance contended that, if SRA followed their recommendation on the gradual revision of the "B" allocation, domestic sugar prices would not have dropped and the composite price would have been higher.

Moreover, the SAP wondered why there was a 1% allocation left for "D" sugar and SAP also wondered who will benefit from this allocation.*