THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) will be improving its sugar forecasts with satellite validation of crops to address supply concerns.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol in a chance interview on Monday said that the DA and SRA will adopt methods to verify output and make forecasts more reliable.
He added that the Philippine Coconut Authority will also be making use of satellite technology.
“We will be employing the same method of validation of the projected harvest in the sugar industry similar to what we are doing right now with rice, where we are using satellite mapping and satellite validation,” he said.
“We will be collaborating with and engage a company that will conduct an aerial validation for us of actual standing crops” so concerns about sugar supply do not surface in the future.
Mr. Piñol on Monday met with SRA and the major sugar industry stakeholders to obtain assurances “that the commitments they made to Coca-Cola [FEMSA Philippines, Inc.], among others, will be met and fulfilled.”
Last week, Mr. Piñol told reporters that FEMSA, the Mexican licensee for Coca-Cola products, expressed concern about delays to its sugar supply.
“There was a little delay in the delivery of the supplies because admittedly there were some issues on the sufficiency of supply in the local market,” he said.
In a statement sent to BusinessWorld, FEMSA said: “As sugar is our main sweetener, we cannot help but emphasize the necessity of its stable supply in order to ensure our continued unhampered operations. We thank the DA and SRA for their guidance and for immediately addressing our concerns,” The company added.
Mr. Piñol said that despite supply fears the DA is expecting improved production next year. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato