BACOLOD

Group pushes for consultative workshop amid sugar industry woes

THE Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc. (Confed) has submitted its recommendations to the Congress including the proposed consultative workshop positioned to address issues and concerns hounding the sugar industry.

The group, in a statement Monday, December 2, said they reiterate through its resolution that the government should provide the necessary oversight function for the Sugar Industry Development Act (Sida).

Hopefully, the P2-billion fund as originally set in the law will be re-established, it said.

“Relative to the scheduled committee hearing of the House of Representatives on sugar import liberalization, we are taking this opportunity to thank the efforts of our legislators in asking government to stop the sugar liberalization,” it added.

The lower house is set to tackle Tuesday House Resolution No. 412 expressing the strong opposition of the House of Representatives to the planned deregulation of the importation of sugar for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare of sugar farmers, farm and mill workers across the country.

Confed agreed that the country must not only dwell in stopping the sugar liberalization as proposed by the economic managers but use it as a stepping stone in providing the necessary solution for the sugar industry to address the domestic production.

Among its suggestions is to consolidate small farmers to re-tool the sugar farming back into its ideal state as a plantation crop for better production and fund management through economies of scale.

“We look forward for government to provide easy access to support services, financing, mill upgrading and standardization utilizing ‘progressive farmers’ as partners in the block farming program,” it also said.

Raymond Montinola, spokesperson of Confed, said the group’s resolution is their way to show government that “we are going to do something about the issue of productivity in our industry.”

“However, we cannot do it alone, therefore we are asking the Department of Agriculture (DA) to conduct a performance audit and include a review of the organizational structure of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) in order to streamline its function as the governing agency of government for the sugar industry,” Montinola said.

To this day, the producers concern is for the SRA to establish primarily a calibrated import program that will tidy them up while they are getting acts together in sustained solution for domestic sugar production, he added.

Moreover, Confed said it commits itself in working with the government, especially the DA and SRA without prejudice to personalities involved in the endeavor to provide a sustainable livelihood for the industry stakeholders.*

Elmeer Meynard Calimpos Photo: The Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc. suggests the consolidation of small farmers to re-tool the sugar farming back into its ideal state as a plantation crop for better production.


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