RAW SUGAR output in the Philippines during crop year (CY) 2020-2021 is expected to drop, as land planted to sugarcane continues to decline and producers remain cautious about plans to liberalize sugar imports, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

In its Global Agricultural Information Network report for the Philippines, the USDA said that raw sugar production for CY 2020-2021 is estimated at 2 million metric tons (MT), against 2.025 million MT a year earlier.

“Sugar producers remain cautious about the impact of possible deregulation, as Philippine economic managers consider further trade liberalization beyond rice, such as the sugar and corn sectors,” the USDA said.

Meanwhile, sugar demand for CY 2020-2021 is expected to increase to 2.35 million MT due to increased usage of sugar by food and beverage manufacturers.

Sugar demand could also be spurred by the recovering global economy when it emerges from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

The report also estimated refined sugar imports in CY 2020-2021 at 450,000 MT, while exports of sugar to the US market are expected to grow to 140,000 MT.

Land planted to sugarcane in 2019-2020 fell to 406,500 hectares from 410,000 hectares a year earlier due to poor weather conditions. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave