"It is the highest sugar cane production in 20 years, aided by the use of high-yielding cane variety," an SRA official told AP-foodtechnology.com.
The Philippines has exceeded its production target for 2003-04, with a raw sugar output of 2.3 million metric tons for the year ended August 2004. The increase has been made possible due to productivity per hectare going up from 5.63 tons to 5.97 tons of sugar during the year.
The country has in the past been importing sugar and striving towards self sufficiency. "We stopped imports two years ago," the official explained.
About 6 per cent of the sugar produced is earmarked to be exported to the United States under a trade quota system, with 4 per cent going to other regions. The rest of the produce will be consumed locally.
The country's export run may not continue next year due to expectations of lower output but officials said the crop would be sufficient to meet the domestic requirements and exports to the US.
The Philippines also follows a policy of discouraging sugar imports and has in place a 48 per cent to 65 per cent duty structure on sucrose imports for the beverage industry.
Currently, the price of top quality sugar in the country is $16 for a 50-kg bag, while the March White Sugar contract trades at $267 a ton on the Euronext exchange.