THE reopening of  some sugar mills ahead of the traditional milling season is expected to address sugar supply concerns, according to the vice-governor of a leading sugar-producing province.

“With (early reopening), we hope (to contribute) to resolving supply issues; in turn, we will also be seeing growth in our local economy,” Negros Occidental Vice-Governor Jeffrey P. Ferrer said in a statement.

Mr. Ferrer said that he made the appeal to sugar mills months ago as sugar prices rose.

“There were rumors of a sugar shortage (at the time). And I am very much appreciative that our sugar mills responded favorably,” he added.

Mills that have announced their reopening include First Farmers, Hawaiian Philippines Co., Victorias Milling Co., URC La Carlota and Sagay Central.

“The early start of the milling season is also going to be beneficial to our sugar farmers as it coincides with the reopening of the school year and they will have one less problem (in terms of expenses to deal with) especially since some schools are now going to conduct face-to-face classes,” he added.

As of July 29, the average price of refined sugar in wet markets was P93 per kilogram, according to the Sugar Regulatory Administration.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has announced that it will consult the sugar industry to assess the state of the sugar inventory.

The DA is exploring a reclassification of sugar stocks to ensure the diversion of supply to the consumer market and away from industrial users, and also to determine appropriate import levels if needed. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson