NEGROS Occidental Governor Isidro Zayco said he is against the government’s move to import sugar considering that it is still the months of milling season, especially for the province.
“We have to wait until the milling season is over and let’s see how much would be our production and if we determine that there is shortage in sugar supply, that would be the time that we import,” opined Zayco.
He added: “If our local production is enough for the consumption of the end-user, that’s the time that we will import sugar. As of now, the milling is still ongoing and it is awkward that while it is still ongoing, we will already import,” stressed Zayco.
The country will start importing sugar of 60,000 metric tons on April and 90,000 metric tons on June as second tranche.
Said importation is per Executive Order No. 857 which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Wednesday last week allowing the National Food Authority (NFA) though the Department of Agriculture to import sugar.
The sugar planters in the province have been opposing the sugar importation and asked for a government subsidy to stabilize the price of sugar in the country.
Zayco said it is only this year that the sugar farmers in the province are able to recover their losses from the previous years when the sugar industry was down.
Even last year, the situation was not favorable to the planters and worse because the prices of fertilizers were high, so they don’t have better yield. “It’s only the prices that they were able to gain and earn from their sugarcane,” noted Zayco.
United Farmers of Negros South, Inc. (Unifarms) on Monday condemned the government’s importation move thus blamed Sugar Regulatory Administrator Rafael Coscolluela in not making a clear stand on the issue.
Unifarms President Jose Nadie Arceo said there is no need to import sugar “as we have enough supply in the country.”
He said importation would be detrimental to the local producers especially during the next milling year.
Coscolluela on the other hand pointed to the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines where prior to the EO issuance, was consulted by the government with regard the importation matters.g