Negros Occidental

Drought hurts Negros Occidental’s muscovado sugar industry

Erwin Delilan

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Drought hurts Negros Occidental’s muscovado sugar industry

SPADING. Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (right) and DA-Western Visayas Assistant Regional Director Albert Barrogo spading muscovado sugar at the Oringao, Kabankalan City muscovado production facilities inauguration in June 2023.

Negros Occidental Capitol PIO

The dry weather conditions severely impact around 30,000 Negrosanons who are dependent on the muscovado sugar industry

BACOLOD, Philippines – The lingering drought, attributed to the El Niño phenomenon affecting the country, is gradually unsweetening the dollar-earning muscovado sugar industry of Negros Occidental.

The dry spell has been hurting the 14 groups of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from seven localities in the province belonging to the seven-year-old Fair Trade Producers Network (FTPN).

“We’re in dire need now. Our sugarcane farms are rain-dependent. With the continued drought, we’re severely affected now,” Sandrico Cornelio, FTPN president, told a press conference in Bacolod City on Wednesday, May 8.

As a consequence, the local production of the unrefined cane sugar will undoubtedly suffer a significant reduction, said Ariel Guides, president of Alter Trade Philippines (ATP), the marketing arm of FTPN.

Guides said Negros Occidental, through FTPN, exports around 200 metric tons of muscovado sugar to Greece, France, Switzerland, Japan, and South Korea every year.

Negros’ muscovado is a best-selling sugar abroad because of its distinct sweetness, a result of sustainable organic farming practiced by muscovado farmers in the province.

The brown muscovado, with a strong molasses taste, keeps more natural minerals and flavors from sugarcane juice compared to refined sugar.

Guides said the present weather conditions severely impacted around 30,000 Negrosanons who are dependent on the muscovado sugar industry.

With the projected 50-60% reduction of muscovado sugar production this crop year, Guides said the situation was “traumatic” for muscovado sugar industry dependents from the towns of Murcia, Don Salvador Benedicto, La Castellana, Isabela, Moises Padilla, Hinigaran, and Bago City.

Cornelio appealed to the government for help, specifically from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and Department of Agriculture (DA).

He said they want to avail immediate support from SRA’s Bloc Farming Program (BFP) under the Sugar Industry Reform Act (SIRA) as they are now at the height of their (muscovado) production stage.

The provincial government of Negros Occidental and DA in Western Visayas have muscovado production facilities in the southern part of the province. –

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