Sugar leaders blame SRA anew for drop in sugar prices

INDUSTRY leaders in Negros Occidental have again blamed the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) for the significant decrease in the prices of domestic sugar.

In a statement Wednesday, January 30, the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines (SAP) said the SRA has allowed the unregulated entry of 280,000 metric tons of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at the start of the current milling season.

“This directly resulted to the low sugar prices at the start of the crop year,” the statement said.

Sugar leaders noted a difference of P400 per bag, as prices went down from P1,650 to P1,250.

The statement said the continued entry of HFCS “makes a mockery” of Sugar Order No. 3, which regulates HFCS. The order was issued by former SRA administrator Anna Rosario Paner.

“Worse, SRA issued a new sugar order last week, which revised the sugar allocation, without listening to the recommendation of the Sugar Alliance, which represent more than 70 percent of the sugar industry. Because of this, domestic sugar prices dropped from P1,430 last week to only P1,390 in yesterday’s bidding,” the statement added.

The group said the decrease in domestic sugar prices could have been averted if SRA only listened to the recommendation of the planters federations.

“If SRA listened to the recommendation of the substantial majority of sugar producers, domestic prices might have increased and farmers would have enjoyed a higher composite price, according to the SAP,” the statement said.

Under Sugar Order No. 1 issued last August 31, 2017, sugar production was allocated at 10 percent for “A” sugar (US Quota), 80 percent for “B” sugar (domestic market) and 10 percent for “D” sugar (World Market), it said.

The statement added that the allocation, which took effect last September 1, 2017, was revised by Sugar Order No. 1-A, issued last January 25 and took effect on sugar production last January 28.

The sugar industry leaders claimed the revised allocation has drastically increased the “B” sugar allocation from 80 percent to 93 percent while reducing the “A” sugar allocation from 10 percent to six percent and the “D” sugar allocation from 10 percent to one percent.

“If SRA followed their recommendation on the gradual revision of the ‘B’ allocation, domestic sugar prices would not have dropped and the composite price would have been higher,” the Sugar Alliance said.

Sugar board director Emilio Yulo III, a Negrense, said he moved for the classification of all HFCS stocks after he assumed his post last November.

“I was the one who asked that the subsequent importation of HFCS be classified as reserve,” said Yulo, who is representing the planters at the board.

There was a time the SRA held in abeyance the entry of HFCS, he added.
Before joining the SRA, Yulo was the spokesperson of SAP.

He said that his stand on HFCS had been consistent with the SAP’s position even when he became member of the Sugar Board.
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