SUGAR production as of the fourth week of June was little changed, rising 0.02% year-on-year, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said.

The agency reported that as of the fourth week, sugar production was 2.071 million metric tons (MMT), up from 2.070 MMT a year earlier. This is equivalent to 41.42 million 50-kilo bags, compared with 41.41 million a year earlier.

The crop year for sugar starts every September and ends in August.

Demand for raw sugar declined 17.37% to 1.72 MMT.

Total sugarcane milled fell 8.25% year-on-year to 21.74 MMT.

Refined sugar output fell 9.50% year-on-year to 792,576.35 MT.

The millgate price fell 20.48% to P1,532.10 per 50-kilo bag. The retail price was stable at P45 to P50 per kilo, but was lower against the price of P55 to P64 a year earlier.

The SRA added that under the Sugar Industry Development Act (SIDA), the authority will be granted a 2020 budget unchanged from the 2019 allocation of P500 million, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In a letter to the SRA dated July 11, the DBM said the recommened allocation considers factors like “1) implementation readiness of programs/projects; 2) assessment of absorptive capacity, i.e. disbursement vis-à-vis obligation, using as basis the FY 2018 budget utilization; 3) consistency of the SRA’s programs and projects with the Budget Priorities Framework, the Philippine Development Plan, the Results Matrix, the Public Investment program, as well as SRA’s Strategic Plan; 4) submission of the indicative annual procurement plan; and 5) the result consultations between government-owned or –controlled corporations with stakeholders on the government’s expenditure priorities.”

The National Budget for 2020 will be submitted by the President to Congress within 30 days from the opening of its regular session on July 22. The amount is subject to modification in the course of the legislative process.

Last month, proposals emerged to cut funding under SIDA to P67 million. The Confederation of Sugar Producers (CONFED) said that the industry plans to appeal to Congress to increase this to at least P1 billion. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang