Enrique Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP), is urging the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to give updated information on the actual volume of imported sugar available in the market, as well as the actual sugar production and sugar yield, at the start of this new milling season.
Rojas made the call as trading on raw sugar in major sugar mills in the province went below the promised millgate price of P3,000 per 50-kilogram (Lkg) bag by the SRA before the start of milling this crop year.
"Hopefully, for the sake of thousands of small planters and their families, sugar tonnage and millgate sugar prices will substantially improve in the succeeding weeks," Rojas said in a statement.
He said sugar farmers were expecting that by delaying the milling until September, sugar production would improve in terms of tonnage per hectare and sugar yield per ton of cane.
"Moreover, farmers expected that millgate sugar prices would be maintained at more than P3,000 per LKg bag," he emphasized.
Out of the seven Negros mills that have started their operations, only Hawaiian and First Farmers millgate prices reached more than P3,000, with an average of P3,040 per bag.
Millgate prices in the other five mills averaged P2,600 per bag, which is barely breakeven for most small planters. "Worse, many farmers were disappointed that sugar tonnage and yield were below their expectations," Rojas said.
"Farmers speculate that the market is still flooded by imported sugar, leaving little demand for domestic sugar," Rojas further said.
SRA administrator Pablo Azcona said Monday, September 18, that the agency is now looking into what could have caused price depression during trading last week.
Since February, we have maintained prices at a comfortable level of P3,000, which is equivalent to P60/kilogram at farmgate raw sugar, he said.*