The Philippines would be most likely to import around 400,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar due to sugar supply shortage.
The consumption demand will slightly increase to 2.3 million MT while the country’s total raw sugar production will only reach 2.1 million metric tons (MT), according to the United States Department of Agriculture – Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) for Market Year (MY) 2019 to 2020.
The increase in domestic and imported sugar demand primarily came from industrial users such as beverages and processed food manufacturers. The need for sugar imports was due to import restrictions and increased taxes on beverages using sugar substitutes like high fructose corn syrup.
According to USDA-FAS, the Philippines needs to import about 400,000 MT of sugar to support the local sugar production in this current market year.
The sugar crop year in the country starts in September and ends in August the following year.
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) approved two importation batches, which are also 400,000 MT in the last crop year.
According to USDA-FAS, they project the country’s raw sugar production to be 2.1 million MT. Sources in the industry believe “that raw sugar output may be lower than what the SRA projects.”
“Factors affecting raw sugar production include unfavorable weather conditions resulting in heavier cane with lower sugar content, reduced planting area, and a prolonged farm labor shortage in sugarcane producing areas,” USDA-FAS said.
The Philippines is expected to export 5 percent of its raw sugar production to the United States, which is about 120,000 MT.