THE sugar industry said prices will fall if imports are diverted to the end-user market instead of their current role servicing manufacturer demand.

“If you want sugar prices to go down, flood the market. Oversupply it. If you put 200,000 metric tons (MT) on the market, then prices will go down,” United Sugar Producers Federation President Manuel R. Lamata said in a televised radio briefing over DZBB.

He was responding to a question about the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s (SRA) Sugar Order (SO) No. 3, which authorized the import of 200,000 MT of refined sugar to serve as a supply buffer.

“The premise of the SO is to bring down sugar prices to help consumers. The problem when you read it is that it’s exclusive for industrials, meaning that all that sugar is for soft drink makers. How will that bring down prices?,” he said.

Mr. Lamata said that the government should survey sugar mills to forecast supply and production.

“We need to find out how much sugar was left in warehouses, if it will tide over to the next milling season. We need data like that,” he said.

The SRA has said that sugar production for the current crop year was 1.8 million MT.

“The unusual decline in sugar production was explicitly observed in Negros from March to May production data. The aberrant decline during these months was due to the residual effect on the damaged leaves of sugarcane caused by strong winds during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Odette,” the SRA said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson