SRA to conduct an inventory of local sugar stocks

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) will begin stockpiling nationwide sugar this month amid concerns that the Philippines will soon run out of sweetener.

The Director of the OIC SRA Hermenegildo R. Serafica issued Circular Letter (CL) No. 32 which set the guidelines for stockpiling of physical sugar, molasses and licensing of cuidan.

Serafika said the physical inventory to be conducted at all sugar mills and refineries operating across the country is part of the SRA’s effort to assess the country’s sugar production in the 2021-2022 crop year (CY).

The physical inventory check will take place from August 15-20, a few weeks before the start of the 2022-2023 fiscal year on September 1.

Under the guidelines, the SRA will hire a private surveyor who will conduct a physical sugar and molasses inventory in the presence of the inventory team (IT).

“For sugar mills, each IT shall consist of the authorized representative of the milling company, sugarmakers’ associations/cooperatives/federations, and an authorized SRA representative as the team leader,” states CL 32.

She added, “For sugar refineries, each information technology should consist of the authorized representative of the sugar refinery and the representative of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation approved as the team leader.”

The agency stated that it would first bear the actual cost of the survey services for the country-wide private sugar stock surveyor. The authority added that it would charge “the concerned mill/refinery companies” for the “cost of survey services”.

“There will be no withdrawal of raw sugar and/or refined sugar and molasses from all mills/refineries/storage tanks for the duration of the physical sugar and molasses stocks,” CL 32 reads.

It also stipulated that all sugar mills must submit to the SRA’s Regulation Department a list of Koidan’s permits pending as of August 31.

Citing the latest estimates provided by the Agricultural Research Agency, designated Agriculture Secretary Christine Y Evangelista said the country’s current supply of refined sugar will be wiped out by the end of August. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/27/manila-eyes-fresh-round-of-sugar-imports-da-official/)

The agency earlier predicted that supplies of refined sugar will continue until the end of July while raw sugar will run out by the first week of August. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/06/29/phl-may-run-out-of-sugar-by-august-sra/)

Evangelista said sugar imported under the import program authorized by Sugar Order 3 is beginning to arrive and has increased domestic sugar supplies.

In June, Seravika said importing was one of the government’s options to fill the shortfall in domestic sugar supplies because it would take some to build up stocks from local sources. He pointed out that the grinding of raw sugar begins in December and peaks in the first quarter of the following year, while production of refined sugar begins as soon as large quantities of raw sugar become available.

“If we rely on our local production alone and do not allow imports, by August we will not have enough sugar and we will not have any carry-over stocks to meet our needs in the coming months so that production can ramp up.”

Image credits: Businessmirror . file image

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