Sugar Regulatory Administration Reports Steady Prices
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) made an announcement on Thursday, assuring the public that sugar prices in the Philippines have maintained stability since February. According to SRA’s acting administrator, Pablo Luis Azcona, retail prices have remained consistent, fluctuating within the range of PHP85 to PHP110.
This welcome news was shared during an interview at the 2023 Sustainable Agriculture Forum in Makati City, where he discussed the current state of the sugar market.
Farmgate and Retail Prices Remain Unchanged
Azcona also emphasized that this stability extends to the farmgate prices of both raw and refined sugar, which have been holding steady at PHP60 per kilogram or PHP3,000 per 50-kilo sack.
Despite these favorable market conditions, he revealed that there is mounting pressure to lower the farmgate prices.
Balancing Act for Local Producers
Regarding the pressure to reduce farmgate prices, Azcona explained,
“However, we are pressured to lower farm gate prices, but the people who are pressuring us should also understand that diesel prices have gone up so much, farm inputs have gone up, labor has gone up. So there’s only a threshold where you have a lower farm gate for the local producer unless the local producer becomes highly mechanized and has total disregard for social responsibility and farm workers then we can lower the price.”
Hopes for a Slightly Lower Farmgate Price
Despite the challenges, Azcona expressed hope that the farmgate price could dip slightly to PHP60 per kilogram during the first price bidding scheduled for September 14. This figure, while lower than the PHP62 average farmgate price from the previous year, reflects SRA’s efforts to navigate a complex pricing landscape.
Abundant Sugar Stocks on the Horizon
Azcona provided insights into the sugar supply, stating,
“Sugar Order (SO) No. 6, that is 420,000 metric tons (MT), has arrived. The withdrawals I think, if I remember it right, did not reach 200,000 MT, so there are more stocks.”
“We have a buffer, so the SO 7 that arrived is about 30,000 MT more or less so that’s 150,000 MT and there are more coming.”
He went on to mention that the country is building up a two-month buffer stock of sugar as the milling season has commenced.
Ensuring a Steady Supply of Refined Sugar
Azcona concluded by emphasizing,
“So, usually once we start milling a month or so after that, the refineries will start running as well and so we will have refined sugar.”
This assurance underscores the SRA’s commitment to providing a stable supply of refined sugar, even in the face of market complexities and pricing pressures.