More sugar could be diverted to consumer use — Agriculture Department

MATHILDE LANGEVIN-UNSPLASH

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is considering allocating more sugar to the consumer market, Undersecretary Kristine Y. Evangelista said.

“We know that our demand for sugar is halved between domestic and industrial uses. What we’re looking at right now is the available supply… We’re looking to see if (more volume) needs to be reclassified for household consumption,” she told the People’s Television Network (PTV).

Ms Evangelista added that the department will consult with the sugar industry to assess the current inventory and develop plans to make more sugar available to households.

The ministry will also use the consultations to determine an appropriate volume for importing sugar if needed.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., meanwhile, has given the order to accelerate the needs of coconut farmers by increasing the value-added content of their products, according to Ms. Evangelista.

“We are looking at shared facilities that our farmers need and (we are discussing) scholarships for dependents of coconut farmers. We have been asked to fast track all programs for farmers,” she said.

The DA plans to develop programs that will increase access to private financing institutions.

“We also discussed credit and financing, it is important for farmers. We are exploring how to make credit and loans more accessible,” she added.

Ms. Evangelista said the department is also preparing for the Masagana 150 and 200 programs, which aim to increase rice production.

“We are talking with different farmer organizations to start preparations for Masagana. It is not only about fertilizers, seeds or mechanization, but there are also parallel efforts for social preparations. This is the priority for our National Rice Program,” she said.

“We continue to work…to increase yields and ensure that agricultural products reach our consumers at affordable prices,” she added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

Rachel J. Bradford