THE Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA) said the modernization of milling operations is currently ongoing, adding that the sugar recovery rate has risen to more than 81% in the last three years, from 78% in the 1990s, while fewer mills are reporting unscheduled breakdowns.
“Industry reports published by the Sugar Regulatory Administration show that sugar recovery has increased to more than 81% in the last three years from 78% in the 1990s. Downtimes due to mechanical problems have gone down significantly with the introduction of new equipment,” the PSMA said in a statement.
“Unknown to many, sugar factories have been undergoing rehabilitation and modernization to cope with the changing market environment,” it added.
PSMA Deputy Director for Programs Oscar L. Cortes said that the modernization of mills started when government-owned factories were being privatized and the sugar industry was included in the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) in the 1990s.
“During this period, mills have invested P20 billion on new production systems and operations. The SRA keeps track of all new equipment installed by the mills. These are all properly documented,” Mr. Cortes said.
“When the modernization program started in the ’90s, there were 41 sugar mills. Most of those that did not implement upgrades have stopped operating,” he said.
Mr. Cortes added that the year a mill is established is “not indicative of the condition of the installed equipment and technical performance.”
There are currently 28 operational mills, according to the PSMA.
“Many sugar mills have also moved beyond sugar production by installing ethanol production and cogeneration facilities that amount to P61.36 billion. Most of these projects have been registered under the IPP,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson