THE private-sector sugar industries of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines agreed to form an alliance in preparation for the coming Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
Stakeholders from the sugar industries of the three Asian countries established the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Sugar Alliance or ASA.
According to the Philippine sugar industry, the idea to form an alliance was initially discussed by Thailand sugar industry representatives when Philippine sugarcane farmers and millers visited that country in August 2012.
At first, the alliance was to be comprised of the sugar industries of Thailand and Indonesia, but after the Philippine sugar industry showed interest, it was welcomed as an incorporating party.
The private sector Philippine sugar industry said in a statement that it was attracted to join to establish a “strong relationship” among the sugar industries in Asean.
Among the member-countries in Asean, Thailand is considered the largest producer and exporter of sugar, while Indonesia is regarded as the biggest consumer and importer.
The ASA will be the venue for exchanges and collaboration on sugarcane, sugar and related-products researches among alliance members. This is in response to the changing business environment–trade, growing demand for sugar, advances in farm and mill technologies and changing weather patterns.
ASA’s mission focuses on the important role of sugarcane as a raw material for food and energy, the cooperation on sugar related business development, and the support to the government sector for the upcoming Asean Economic Community.
Asean, with a population of almost 600 million, produces around 17 million tons of sugar, and consumes about 14 million tons of sugar yearly. The consuming ratio per person is around 23 kilograms per year, according to the International Sugar Organization (ISO).
Cherdpong Siriwit from Thailand was elected Chairman of ASA, while Pedro Roxas of the Philippines was elected Vice-Chairman during the Nov. 7, 2012 organizational meeting in Bangkok.
Joining the Philippine delegation were Jeannie Krebs and Francisco Varua, treasurer and executive vice president of PSMA, respectively. The administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) was invited by the Philippine sugar industry to observe the proceedings.