NegOcc deputy governor calls for unity in sugar industry

Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer of Negros Occidental is calling on all players in the sugar industry, especially in the southern part of the province, to unite in the face of the various issues currently facing the sector. (File photo)

NEGROS Occidental Deputy Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, along with southern Negros Occidental sugar planters, have called for unity in the sugar industry under the new administration.

“Hope remains high for us in the sugar industry with no less than President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. heading the Department of Agriculture (DA),” Ferrer said in a statement.

In turn, he said, it is best for the various stakeholders in the sugar industry to unite and support the new chairman, who will also serve as the secretary of the DA.

Ferrer stressed that unity is needed, especially now that the industry is plagued with major issues.

Like Ferrer, the same sentiment was echoed by Roberto Cuenca, president of the Asociacion de Agricultores De La Carlota Y Pontevedra Inc. (AALCPI), as he congratulated Marcos on being the country’s 17th president.

Cuenca said the situation looks promising for the industry amid the major issues it is facing, but he said: “We have not yet overcome the crisis that started with the pandemic which has doubled production costs. “.

On top of that there is the uninterrupted rise in fuel and fertilizers and we see no immediate respite in the near future which could lead to the collapse of the industry unless solutions are found, he added.

For his part, David Alba, director of the AALCPI, said unity is crucial and he called on stakeholders to rally behind the new administration.

Alba is also urging the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to amend Sugar Ordinance No. 3 and open importation to all stakeholders in the sugar industry and not just a select few such as industrial users.

“Any import must always be measured against the interest of the majority of consumers,” he said.

In addition, he encourages the agency to “allocate from the privileges of this import and its own corporate operating budget, fertilizer subsidies for small cane growers.”

“At this point we can’t afford to point fingers… We just have to be united and work alongside each other,” Alba added. (RP)

Rachel J. Bradford