SRA to sanction planters defying sugar milling schedule
BACOLOD CITY—The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is sticking to its decision to start the milling season on Sept. 1 to ensure higher sugar yield and revenues for the farmers.
Acting SRA Administrator Paul Azcona warned that sanctions would be imposed to those that would violate the SRA order.
“I’m pleading to the mills to respect the Sept. 1 date. Sanctions will be imposed on those that defy the SRA advisory. It will not be tolerated,” said Azcona at a press conference at the SRA office in Bacolod on Thursday.
So far, he said, only one sugar mill had requested to start the milling in August but based on SRA computations, the milling that was allowed to start in August last year caused lower yield and losses of about P700 million to small farmers.
“The main thrust of the current administration is to improve production capacity because we are so import dependent and we want to move away from that. We want to be self-sufficient,” he added.
Azcona was responding to a letter from the Sugar Council, composed of the Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Associations Inc., National Federation of Sugarcane Planters Inc. and Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers Inc., asking the SRA to allow the start of the milling season in August.
Azcona said he first learned about the letter through the media and was surprised by it since sugar planters knew as early as May and had agreed to begin the milling season on Sept. 1.
He said the sugar federations should instead back their requests with figures, noting that of the nine sugar mills in Negros, only one protested the reopening of sugar milling to Sept. 1.
Azcona said the Sept. 1 mill reopening was the first in a series of deferment of dates in the next three years to go back to the original mill opening, which was Oct. 1.
“By 2025, we will be back on track with the hope that our annual production will increase,” he added.
Azcona said they conducted a simulation of the August and September production last year wherein the August figures showed that 432,000 tons of canes were milled with an average LKG/TC (50 kg-bag/ton cane) of 1.4 at an average price then of P2,800 per LKG bag of sugar or a total of P1.8 billion in revenues.
The same volume of canes milled a month later, yielded an average LKG/TC of almost 1.7 at an average price then of P3,300 per LKG bag of sugar or a total of P2.5 billion, he said.
“It’s a big difference of about P700 million which could have been additional income for our farmers, especially since most, if not all, of those who milled in August of last year were our small farmer beneficiaries. “ Azcona said. INQ