Business: Sugar Master Plan Holds Seminar Workshop
The Sugar Master Plan Foundation, in cooperation with the Sugar Regulatory Administration, Philippine Sugar Institute, Inc. together with the Mill DistrictDevelopment Councils of Southern Negros Occidental and Eastern Visayas held a seminar-workshop at the Nature’s Village, Talisay City on June 7-8, 2012. Airing the last quarter of 2009, three workshops were conducted involving the Mill District Development Councils of Luzon, Mindanao, North Negros, South Negros, including Panay and Eastern Visayas areas where they made plans to offset the impending crisis by January 1, 2015. By then, the tariff on foreign sugar brought into the country would only have a FIVE PERCENT TARIFF. Inasmuch as sugar produced in Thailand, India, Australia and many other countries have a very much lower production cost than Philippine sugar.
Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin, Administrator, Sugar Regulatory Adminis-tration (SRA).
The rationale of the seminar was; To inform the MDDCs of the industry developments (AFTA); to make them aware of the efforts of the SMPI to address this concern; to catalyze and initiate the preparation of local plans in conjunction with the nationwide efforts at enhancing competitiveness; to validate technical parameters considered in the draft SMP; to determine the specific research and development needs (input to the R & D workshop); and, to solicit other comments or ideas relevant to the overall goals of the SMP.
The results, thus far, were encouraging. Each MDDC came up with a 5-year roadmap. The output represented an honest assessment of the situation at the ground level and proposals to address the difficulties being experienced. The MDDCs also listed the indicators that would guide the pursuit of their stated goals. It is but fitting to follow through on the output of these workshops in order to move forward.
The objectives of the subsequent series of consultations are; provide the participants updates on the industry in general, the initiatives of the various institutions of the industry and other specific developments; re-visit the road maps prepared in 2009; assess developments in specific areas relevant to MDDC level efforts; identify success stories for possible replication to other areas; identify problems and potential solutions; to solicit other comments or ideas relevant to the overall goals of the industry; internal assessment of each MDDC/need for institutional organizational development.
The Workshop Program last Thursday opened with a prayer, introduction of guests and participants while the objectives for the day were enunciated by SMPFI’s Executive Director Felisberto T. Monasterio.
Administrator Ma. Regina B. Martin welcomed the guests and the participants. In her speech, she outlined the present state of the sugar industry with updates on possible additions to meet the needs of the United States. They also gave everyone insights on the programs of SRA in order to cope with the problems that could arise come January 1, 2015. She also informed the body of the feasibility of ethanol production and that there are already investors that are very interested to invest in this venture. She gave due credit to the mills that are already into power generation. She said that there still many problems in the sugar industry but she affirmed that the mills, sugar producers, mill workers and the farm workers can cope with the problems as they are competent and farsighted.
Industry updates were given by F. T. Monasterio of the Sugar Master Plan Foundation with Ms. Michelle Almendrala, Director of PHILSURIN, and the extent of their research and development activities to further produce high yielding varieties. She also encouraged the attendees to approach her office on their problems as she is always available to assist them.
Ms. Dory de los Santos, head of the R & D division of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, gave insights on the research and developments of SRA. She informed them of the current high-yielding varieties that her office has already produced and their availability for all planters.
Ms. B. Alisla informed everyone of their estimates and the strong possibility that the crop year’s production could exceed last year’s sugar production. "Our observation was that the workshop was a success and should be held every year in order to further involve the MDDCs, millers, planters and the labor force of the mills and the farms in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the sugar industry for greater productivity while reducing the costs of production.*