MANILA - President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday announced that a Brazilian firm has expressed commitment to help boost the sugar industry and ethanol production in the country.
In a news release, the Presidential Communications Operations (PCO) said this comes after Marcos' meeting with officials from Brazilian firm DATAGRO, Department of Agriculture (DA), Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and members of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) in Malacanang on Monday.
DATAGRO, which is described as the world's largest producer and exporter of sugar and ethanol, is known for helping the development of the sugar industry of Brazil.
During 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 PCO said.
The Brazilian firm also proposed to diversify sugarcane milling operations by converting sugar in molasses to ethanol.
According to DATAGRO, converting sugar to ethanol would help reduce sugar pollution and reduce the cost of refined oil imports.
Marcos 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," Marcos said in an interview.
He 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.
He said technology and operations should be demonstrated to Filipino farmers so they can learn how to use them.
"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," he 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," he added.
Marcos, likewise, 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 (Let's talk) how to develop the program... and then you have to talk to the stakeholders," he said. (PNA)