Philippines: SRA permits advanced refining of sugar to ensure sufficient stocks

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has issued a new rule allowing advanced refining of raw sugar that was previously categorized as reserves under Sugar Order (SO) number 2 series of 2023-2024.

This move aims to guarantee ample stocks of refined sugar as refineries approach the end of operations for the current crop year.

According to Memorandum Circular number 6 series of 2023-2024, advance refining is authorized. Holders of reserve raw sugar under SO2 must submit notarized letters of application and stamped permits, among other requirements, for the refining process.

The circular ensures that the sugar supply in this initiative will be closely monitored and documented to prevent premature diversion to the market, thus avoiding potential price fluctuations.

Additionally, an advance refining fee of P5 per 50 kg bag (LKG) will be levied on authorized applications. Penalties for refining sugar without proper documentation start at P100 per LKG for the first offense, escalating to P150 per LKG for the second offense, and reaching as high as P200 per LKG for third-time offenders, who may also face license suspension or cancellation.

Pablo Azcona, SRA administrator, commented, “Thanks to SO2, farmers are receiving a fair price of P2,800 per bag. While the raw sugar enrolled under this order remains reserved for a maximum of 90 days, holders are now permitted to have it refined.”

Azcona emphasized the necessity of this action as milling operations wind down, allowing those interested in refining their sugar to proceed.

SO2, issued by the SRA last month, enabled stakeholders to voluntarily purchase up to 300,000 metric tons of locally produced raw sugar for reserve stocks. In return, purchasers of local raw sugar for reserves will receive priority in future government sugar importation programs.

SRA stated that SO2 was crucial for elevating local mill gate sugar prices above production costs. According to the Department of Agriculture’s monitoring of public markets in the National Capital Region, retail prices for refined sugar ranged from P75 to P100 per kg, while washed sugar ranged from P64 to P90 per kg, and brown sugar ranged from P63 to P90 per kg as of last Monday.

SRA’s mill site monitoring as of March 24 indicated a composite price of raw sugar at P2,750 per LKG.


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