SRA: Market prices of sugar should be lowered

THE chief of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said prices of sugar among markets in the country should be lowered to at least P50 per kilogram amid the consistent drop in the mill gate prices of the commodity.

SRA administrator Anna Rosario Paner, in a press conference at the SRA office in Bacolod City Wednesday, April 12, said they already brought to the attention of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that mill gate prices of sugar, both raw and refined, have significantly decreased thus, its prices towards the end users should also be adjusted downward.

She said that when they visited some supermarkets in Manila, they saw that a kilo of sugar costs at least P56, which is still high.

“We told DTI that it is timely to lower the prices of sugar among retail stores to also benefit the consumers," Paner said, adding that although some are saying that mill gate prices are high, the reality is, it is volatile and currently fluctuating.

At the time when there was a seemingly persistent drop in the mill gate prices of sugar, which has been happening since January, the SRA expected that consumers had already benefited from it.

The SRA, however, has not noted any adjustment in the retail prices of sugar thus, it asked the DTI to convince local retailers to reflect lower prices on a per kilo basis.

Paner said DTI secretary Ramon Lopez was quoted in the news as saying that he already talked to association of retailers and requested them to lower sugar prices.

“In Manila for instance, I think the price of refined sugar should be lowered to at least P50 per kilo while for raw, there should be a P3 to P5 drop," Paner said.

The SRA administrator pointed out that they are not asking for the adjustment of the suggested retail price (SRP) as it is difficult to do so, and since it would still take a long process given that the prices of sugar are volatile.

“Since DTI has direct contact with retailers, it would be easy for them to communicate and convince to implement price adjustments,” she added.

SRA attributed the low mill gate prices of sugar to “overhang” due to importation in the previous years at a high price of P1,800 per 50-kilo bag.

Prices are now between P1,400 and P1,500 per 50-kilo bag.

The importation of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) also has something to do with the drop in sugar prices, it added.

Paner said that when the milling season ended in August last year, the importation of HFCS was at its peak.

Thus, while more HFCS are coming in there was also an entry of expensive sugar in the country.

"There was a double whammy resulting to low demand for sugar which was instead stocked in the inventory," Paner said, adding that "we are now experiencing its effects as price really started to slowly drop since January."

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