Philippines: Unifed President sees 20 per cent drop in sugar production

Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (Unifed), anticipates a 20 per cent decline in sugar production this crop year due to the effect of the drought because of El Niño, reported Sun Star.

“The sugar industry is suffering a significant loss amounting to hundreds of millions,” Lamata stated.

Lamata has called on the government to abolish the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), criticising their failure to conduct cloud seeding operations in March, which he had advocated to protect sugarcane plantations from drought. “They sacrificed the billion-dollar sugar industry and spared the smaller mango plantations,” Lamata remarked, referring to the reasons given by the BSWM for not conducting the cloudseeding operation at the height of the drought due to lack of seedable clouds and that it may also affect mango plantations in San Carlos City and Guimaras.

He also mentioned that despite the rainy days caused by Tropical Depression Aghon, which has now left the country, the Department of Agriculture will proceed with cloud seeding operations. Additionally, there have been requests from emissaries for him to use his plane.  “When it rains, it pours. It is better late than never,” Lamata said, emphasising that more rain is needed to save replanted sugarcane.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA) reported that the country currently has an adequate sugar supply. “The country has an abundant supply of sugar this year. Our increased production has filled our warehouses, so there is no need to import at this time,” said Jesus Barrera, Executive Director of PSMA.


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