The National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) is calling for the national government to stop the decline in sugar prices.
“We urge the national government’s immediate intervention to stop the decline in sugar prices afflicting our farmers,” said NFSP president Enrique Rojas in response to trading price of sugar reported at P2,502.88 per 50-kilogram bag on Tuesday, Dec. 12
The P2,502.88 per bag was the result of the bidding at the Hawaiian-Philippine Company sugar mill, which conducts its bidding every Wednesday. Other mills hold their respective bidding every Thursday, and their bid prices often reflect a price slightly lower than Hawaiian’s bid price.
“For the past several weeks, our sugar farmers have been suffering from price levels of P2,500 per bag, which is not commensurate to the financial resources, hard work and risks that farmers invest into their farms. Millgate sugar prices should be at the P3,000-P3,500 level to reflect current retail prices of P85.00 to P100.00 per kilo” added Rojas.
Rojas cited the almost 70% to 30% ratio in the withdrawal of imported sugar over locally refined sugar, as reflected in the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s sugar production and withdrawals reports for Crop Year 2023-2024.
“Government should properly manage the sugar supply and demand situation, giving preference to locally produced sugar. We strongly recommend that local sugar should be given first priority in the market, before allowing the withdrawal of imported sugar, which was intended originally to fill last crop year’s deficit and act as reserve for this crop year,” explained Rojas.
In a press statement yesterday, the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations, Inc., (CONFED) led by Aurelio J. Valderrama, Jr. pointed out that traders and importers prefer the cheaper imported sugar over locally produced sugar because imported sugar gives traders and importers more profit.
This is unfair to the local sugar farmers, mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries, who are the ones providing direct and indirect employment to millions of Filipinos, according to Valderrama.
The CONFED president suggested that the Department of Agriculture should give more importance to locally produced sugar over imported refined sugar.
Together with the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers headed by Danilo A. Abelita, the NFSP and CONFED comprise the Sugar Council, which represent majority of sugar production in the country.
The Sugar Council has, from the onset, cautioned against importation. The group stressed that only the specific volume of sugar shortage for the crop year should be allowed for importation.
The Sugar Council further recommended that the schedule of arrival and release of the imported sugar should be calibrated, so that the imported sugar will not depress millgate sugar prices. (PR)