Sugar industry says import plan has lowered prices


SUGAR PRODUCERS have urged the government to drop plans to import 200,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar after the domestic price of raw sugar fell by almost 10% in some markets.

On February 4, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) issued Sugar Order No. 3, which authorized the import of these quantities, citing the need to maintain a buffer stock between milling seasons.

“Two days (oneFafter the order), weekend sugar deals were closed (down),” the growers said in a statement, noting that factory prices per 50-kilogram (Lkg) bag ranged from 99.12 P to 230 P.

“(It) is obvious that the SRA’s ill-timed announcement to import caused prices to drop,” said former SRA board member Emilio Bernardino L. Yulo.

He said the 10% drop will impact the livelihoods of small-scale sugar farmers, who make up more than 80% of sugar producers.

“These small farmers are barely surviving due to the high cost of agricultural inputs, especially fertilizer and fuel, (the prices of which are rising) steadily every week and will now suffer more from this drop in sugar prices,” he said. he adds.

Mr Yulo attributed the drop to the “premature announcement” of SRA Administrator Hermenigildo R. Serafica.

“He knew it would have an immediate effect on the price of sugar,” he added.

The Asociacion de Agricultores de la Carlota y Pontevedra, Inc., an organization of producers from these two towns in Negros Occidental, reiterated its call for a freeze on agricultural input prices to reduce the burden on farmers.

“Since last year we have appealed to the SRA, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), but nothing has been done. Instead, the SRA released Sugar Order No. 3 knowing that we are in the peak of milling season and this has resulted in lower prices,” the band said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

Rachel J. Bradford