Negros Occidental Fifth District Representative Emilio Yulo III is calling for "national intervention to abate the downtrend of sugar prices."
"We need to help our sugar producers immediately, especially our small farmers that comprise 80 percent of the sugar industry, as the past weeks have taken its toll on them and it's heartbreaking to see them suffer during this Christmas season," Yulo, a former board member of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said Friday, December 15.
As of December 10, farmgate price of sugar is at the average of P2,460 per 50-kilo bag (lkg) which has gone too low from the P3,000 per lkg promised by the SRA at the onset of this year's milling.
"I think one option to stop this downtrend in prices is for the government to start buying sugar directly from our producers at a price that will give them some margin of profit from their losses since sugar price went below production cost," he pointed out.
Yulo said that the government has intervened in the past, like when it ordered the NFA to buy palay directly from our farmers.
"We can do the same for the sugar industry until prices stabilize," the solon said.
Moreover, he said the government can sell sugar directly to the consumers to bring down retail prices.
The current price has seen a loss of at least P40,000 per hectare and with most small farmers owning between 1 to 3 hectares, the low price has been hurting them most.
Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa), earlier said that the oversupply was caused by the sugar import liberalization scheme policy of the government.
He added that the sugar import liberalization will have an adverse effect on agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), small farmers, industrial and mill workers who are dependent on the sugar Industry.
"If the downward trend in the prices of sugar shall continue, he added that it would be devastating for the labor sector," he said.
Sugar planters groups have also expressed alarm over the millgate sugar prices way below the comfortable profit margin for producers, particularly small farmers.
The United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters and the Confederation of Sugar Producers have all called on the intervention of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr.*