Philippines sees domestic demand up, export drop for sugar in 2014

sugar-Milda K sxc.huIn 2010, the Philippines had signed an agreement promising to steadily reduce tariffs on sugar imports, from 38 per cent in 2011 to five per cent in 2015.Due to rising domestic demand and a fall in production due to last year’s extreme weather conditions, the Philippines has scaled back sugar exports this year, according to a report by the Oxford Business Group

But longer-term prospects for overseas sales as well as expansion in the local market could drive growth in the sector, claims the report.

In mid-February this year, the industry’s governing agency the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) had announced it was reducing the allocation for export to all markets except for the US.

Instead of the 14 per cent of national production that had been intended for export, just eight per cent of output would be shipped in the current crop year, which ends in August 2014. Of this, the two per cent that had been allocated for the US market would remain unchanged, the SRA said.

The decision was made after it became apparent production would not be sufficient to cover all commitments, said Regina Bautista-Martin, administrator of SRA.

“While production for the current crop year is on a downward trend, records show that local demand or consumption of sugar is increasing,” she said in a statement, adding that if the allocations had not been adjusted the country’s domestic sugar buffer stock would hit a critical level.

According to SRA data, production for the 2013/14 season is now forecast to be around 2.35mn tonnes, down from earlier projections of 2.45mn tonnes. This was in line with Bautista-Martin’s comments in November 2013 to Reutersthat between 50,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes of raw sugar were lost to Typhoon Haiyan.

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