An Assessment of Reform Directions for the Philippine Sugar Industry

Sugar’s prominent role in Philippine economic history traces back to at least the 19th century. But starting at least two decades ago, some had begun to see it, rightly or wrongly, as a sunset industry. In recent years, the country has found itself importing the commodity, in stark contrast to its history of being a top export earner up until the 1970s, when the bulk of total production was exported to the United States. The days when the US Sugar Quota was a prized privilege to sell at premium prices to a highly subsidized market are long gone. So are the days of the large and powerful sugar barons drawing wealth from ownership of huge tracts of sugar land, which had since been fragmented by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and generational partitioning.

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