NEGROS Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, along with sugar planters in southern Negros Occidental, has called for unity in the sugar industry under the new administration.

“Hope remains high for us in the sugar industry with no less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. heading the Department of Agriculture (DA),” Ferrer said in a statement.

In turn, he said, it is best for the various stakeholders in the sugar industry to unite and stand behind the new president, who will also sit as DA secretary.

Ferrer stressed that unity is needed especially now when the industry is beset with major problems.

Like Ferrer, the same sentiment was echoed by Roberto Cuenca, president of the Asociacion de Agricultores De La Carlota Y Pontevedra Inc. (AALCPI), as he congratulated Marcos for being the 17th president of the country.

Cuenca said the situation looks promising for the industry amidst the major issues confronting it, but he said, “we have yet to overcome the crisis that started with the pandemic which doubled production cost.”

On top of that is the unabated rise in fuel and fertilizers and we are not seeing an immediate reprieve in the near future which can cause the industry to collapse unless solutions are found, he added.

For his part, David Alba, manager of AALCPI said unity is crucial and he is calling the stakeholders to rally behind the new administration.

Alba also urges the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to amend Sugar Order No. 3 and open up the importation to all stakeholders in the sugar industry and not just a select few such as the industrial users.

“Any importation must always be measured against the interest of the majority of the consumers,” he said.

In addition, he encourages the agency to “allocate from the liens of this importation and its own Corporate Operating Budget for fertilizer subsidies for small sugarcane farmers.

“At this point, we cannot afford to point fingers... We simply need to be united and work alongside one another,” Alba added. (PR)