Planters group agrees on DA's plan to import 200MT of refined sugar

BACOLOD. This sugar worker in Negros Occidental is among those thousands in the country feared to be affected tremendously if the plan to liberalize sugar importation pushes through. (Jonah Mae Santander)
BACOLOD. This sugar worker in Negros Occidental is among those thousands in the country feared to be affected tremendously if the plan to liberalize sugar importation pushes through. (Jonah Mae Santander)

United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (UNIFED) President Manuel Lamata is agreeable with the plan of the Department of Agriculture to import 200,000 Metric Tons of refined sugar.  "This will fill in the shortage before harvest season starts in September," Lamata said.

He also said harvest this coming crop year will be delayed due to El Nino and that when they were consulted about the matter, they approved the proposal. Meanwhile, SRA Administrator Pablo Azcona said it is not a definite figure as it will be based on the stock inventory come September when the milling season starts. 

He also clarified that the program that Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel was referring to is Sugar Order #2, or the pre-qualification of possible importers by having them pre-qualify by buying Local Farmer sugar first. SO2 increased the farmer price to a stable 2700 to 2800/bag of raw sugar, which also stabilized retail refined prices at 73 to 100/kg. 

This program pre-qualified an import volume of almost 200,000 tons of refined sugar and was planned in Jan and formally signed on March 8, 2024, Azcona explained. "We have pre-qualified and pre-allocated based on their actual support for the local farmers.

As we said previously, we will activate an import plan should the trigger stock level be reached to ensure a stable supply and stable price for our retail and industrial consumers, as well as to ensure that our farmers will not be affected," Azcona explained. 

We also have to bear in mind that the 5 million farmers, farm workers, their families, and people dependent on the sugarcane industry are also 100% retail consumers, he added. 

He said they will meet with Laurel first week of July to discuss and update him on the country's stock levels and determine when we need to activate this plan. (TDE)

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