Officials from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), led by Administrator Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin, participated in the 3rd Philippines-Brazil Bilateral Consultation Meeting and held a series of meetings and technical visits in Brasilia and São Paulo on 25-29 August 2014.
The Study Mission aimed to observe and evaluate Brazil's best practices in sugar and ethanol production and to establish cooperation with relevant Brazilian public and private institutions. In particular, the SRA is interested in procuring high-yielding and climate-resilient sugarcane varieties, equipment and technology transfer from Brazil to help make the Philippine production of sugar and ethanol more efficient and productive.
Brazil is the world's leading producer and exporter of sugar and the second-largest producer of ethanol from sugarcane. Currently, 41% of Brazil's energy requirements comes from renewable sources, thrice the size of the global average. Brazil's renewable energy sources mainly come from sugarcane products (16.1%), hydro (12.5%) and wood and other biomass (8.3%).
The visit and meetings were organized by the Philippine Embassy in Brasilia and the Division for New and Renewable Energy Resources of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry. The SRA delegation met with relevant agencies in Brasilia and visited research institutions, sugar plantation and mills in the State of São Paulo, the major sugar-producing state of Brazil.
SRA was particularly interested with Brazil's sugarcane varieties that continue to thrive despite the drought in São Paulo remaining very productive and of high quality regardless of the dry quality of soil while the energy cane, a variety of sugarcane which grows up to six to eight meters, has a very high fiber content for power generation.
SRA said that the current state of sugar mills in the Philippines is badly in need of upgrade to become more efficient and productive to meet the increasing domestic and global demand for both sugar and ethanol and to become competitive in the region especially in light of the ASEAN economic integration in 2015.