SUGAR planters on Tuesday said the supply of molasses is adequate following a surge in import volumes, rejecting reported claims by the ethanol industry that more imports are needed.

“As the figures of (the Sugar Regulatory Administration) show, we have sufficient production and supply of molasses at this time,” Philippine Sugar Millers Association, Inc. (PSMA) Executive Director Jesus L. Barrera said in a Viber message.

According to Mr. Barrera, domestic production of molasses is “on upswing” while the demand has been “soft and slow.”

He noted that any additional molasses imports will further affect demand for domestic molasses, which he said was down by 17% this year.

An association of ethanol producers reportedly asked the government to allow regulated imports of molasses for use in bioethanol due to a “shortage” of the raw material.

Citing SRA data, the PSMA said domestic molasses production was 471,046.18 metric tons (MT) as of late January, up 3.38% from a year earlier.

The PSMA also said imports of molasses for potable alcohol and animal feed in 2022 was 608,310 MT, up 80%.

In January 2023, the volume of imported molasses increased 80% year on year to 88,702 MT.

“We have sufficient supply. There is no national emergency or shortage of molasses. We do not need to import more molasses specifically for bioethanol production,” the PSMA said in a statement on Monday.

Molasses is a by-product of sugarcane. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera