Planters slam ‘cane purchase’-A A +A
Friday, August 31, 2012
LEADERS of the four federations of sugarcane planters and cooperatives in the country expressed on Thursday their strong objection to the planned “Voluntary Cane Purchase Scheme” of Victorias Milling Company Inc. (Vicmico) and other mills in the country who might want to adopt the same practice.
In a manifesto published today, Friday, in major local daily newspapers in the province, the leaders of the sugarcane planters in the country assailed Vicmico’s move.
“Such a scheme will destabilize the entire sugarcane industry, more particularly in the province of Negros Occidental, which is heavily dependent on the sugarcane industry,” they said.
The manifesto was signed by National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, Inc. (NFSP) president Enrique D. Rojas, United Sugar Producers Federation president Manuel Lamata, Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations president Marcelino Aganon Jr., Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, Inc. president Danilo T. Abelita and Vicmico Planters Association president Aurelio J. Valderrama Jr.
Under the present sharing system in the sugar industry, the planters get 70 percent of the sugar produced from their canes while the mills retain the remaining 30 percent as mill share. In some sugar mills in Mindanao, planters get only 60 percent share.
Planters retain ownership of part of the sugar produced from their canes, as well as of the cane by-products such as molasses and bagasse.
With the “cane purchase” system, the mills will purchase the planters’ sugarcane outright on a per ton basis. All products and by-products from the sugarcane will then belong exclusively to the mill.
Planters reduced to contract growers
“Under the ‘Voluntary Cane Purchase Scheme’, the planters will be reduced to mere contract growers, as they cannot participate in the additional income which the mill can derive from the sugarcane’s by-products,” the manifesto stated.
The Cane Purchase Scheme will result to the abandonment of the long established planter-miller sharing scheme, as provided for in Republic Act (RA) No. 809, which ensures that the planter gets the majority share of the sugar and other by-products of his sugarcane, it further stated.
Planters said the scheme will place them in a clearly disadvantaged position, as they will lose not only control over the sugar produced from their canes but they will also lose ownership of the sugarcane’s by-products, such as the bagasse which the mill can use for the cogeneration of electricity and the molasses which the mill can sell to beverage distillers.
Farm workers will lose social amelioration benefits
“Under such a scheme where the provisions of RA 809 on the just and fair planter-miller sharing arrangements are no longer operative, the labor sector, particularly the sugarcane farm workers, will also be greatly disadvantaged, as they will lose their benefits mandated under Republic Act No. 6982 or the Social Amelioration Program for the Sugar Industry, such as the cash bonus, death and maternity benefits, and availment of socio-economic projects for farm workers and their dependents,” the leaders of the planters warned.
The Cane Purchase Scheme will result to the emasculation of sugar planters and their organizations, thereby ultimately putting them at the mercy of the mills, the manifesto stated.
Moreover, the planters pointed out that such practice will also result to unrest in the farms, as the farm workers and their dependents will be deprived of their benefits under the Sugar Industry Social Amelioration Program.
Tomorrow, September 1, marks the start of Crop Year 2012-2013. This rift among planters and millers on the cane purchase scheme is hardly the right step to start a new sugar milling campaign, more so that the sugar industry is bracing itself against the challenges of 2015 when cheaper imported sugar can enter the country with nominal or zero tariff.
SRA releases sugar allocation for Crop Year 2012-2013
For incoming Crop Year which officially starts on Saturday, 82 percent of sugar production will be allocated for the domestic market (B Sugar), 10 percent will be earmarked for the US market (A Sugar) and the remaining 8 percent will be exported to the world market (D Sugar).
Thus, stated Sugar Order No. 1, Series of 2012-2013 signed by Sugar Regulatory Administrator Ma. Regina B. Martin on Thursday.
The Sugar Board came up with such an allocation premised on an initial estimated raw sugar production of 2.356 million metric tons, representing a five percent increase from last year’s 2.243-million metric ton (MT) output.
With such allocation, the country will be able to meet the regular U.S. quota of 138,827 MT, a buffer stock for possible additional U.S. quota of around 61,993 MT, 2.03 MT domestic demand, including buffer stocks, and around 247,000 MT for the world market, a press release from SRA stated Thursday.
Estimated ending balance for Crop year 2011-2012 is 30,144 MT for “A” or U.S quota sugar, 143,661 MT for “B” or Domestic sugar and 58,793 MT for “D” or world market sugar. Ending balance for refined sugar is 199,924 MT which will end up to the raw sugar balance of 143,661 MT for the domestic buffer stocks, the release further stated.
According to SRA, the country has shipped out 326,379 MT to the world market and 200,561 MT to the U.S. as quota for this crop year.
Moreover, SRA assured that the initial estimate for the 2012-2013 campaign may be revised, as soon as SRA generates an updated crop estimate which may be influenced by weather patterns in the coming months.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 31, 2012.