President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has secured another commitment from an international firm, this time from one that will help boost sugar sufficiency and ethanol production in the country.
This comes after the President’s meeting with officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA), Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), DATAGRO, and members of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) in Malacañang.
In the meeting, the President expressed optimism about increasing sugarcane yield, which is critical to attaining sugar sufficiency and plays an important role in the country’s fuel market.
“I’m very optimistic… that a long-term program to increase production and profitability in the sugar industry is possible… in the Philippines,” the President said in an interview.
DATAGRO is a Brazilian firm that was able to help develop the sugar industry of Brazil, described as the world’s largest producer and exporter of sugar and ethanol.
In the meeting, DATAGRO proposed to start pilot testing in Negros and Panay Islands using the DATAGRO Tech Transfer and Assisted Management Project.
Demo plots of 1,000; 5,000; and 10,000 hectares will be developed to showcase modern practices of production according to Brazilian standards.
The Brazilian firm also proposed to diversify sugarcane milling operations by converting sugar in molasses to ethanol.
Converting sugar to ethanol would help reduce sugar pollution and reduce the cost of refined oil imports, according to DATAGRO.
President Marcos tasked the DA and PSAC to submit recommendations on ways to push forward with the projects, which not only seek to ensure sugar sufficiency but also open the market for energy through production in ethanol.
Technology and operations should be demonstrated to Filipino farmers so they can learn how to use them, according to the President.
“So we had to put the farm next to them so they can see that it works. They say that ‘if my neighbor can do it, I can do it too.’ And if you can show them you make more money doing it, then they will transfer,” the President said.
“And that’s what we need to do, in a sense. And so we have to demonstrate it. We have a process here in the Philippines which is called a techno-demo, which is a demonstration of new technology. So techno-demo, that’s what we will have to conduct,” the President added.
The chief executive also tasked the agriculture department to ramp up consultations with stakeholders and check on the viability of the projects raised by DATAGRO.
“Perhaps you can give us the best idea, the best framework, so that we know what we need to do on this end. Pag-usapan natin how to develop the program… and then you have to talk to the stakeholders,” the President pointed out.
CurrentPH News Service