Sugar farmers surprised over importation announcement

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.
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)

The Confederation of Sugarcane Producers’ Associations (Confed) expresses concern about the government’s plan to import  200,000 metric tons of refined sugar in September. The report did not include any basis for such a plan. Neither was any stakeholder consultation conducted. 

In a letter to  Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu-Laurel, Jr.,  Confed President Aurelio Gerardo J. Valderrama, Jr., shared that currently available data from the SRA, dated June 9, 2024, indicate adequate sugar inventory levels of both raw (436,229 MT) and refined (492,985 MT) sugar. 

Current rates of withdrawal indicate that local inventory can last without importation until the start of the milling season later this year. Moreover, Valderrama pointed out that the SRA has not yet announced the official start of milling for Crop Year ’24-’25, and no crop estimates have yet been made for the new Crop Year, which has been affected by the El Niño phenomenon. 

With these concerns, Confed is asking SRA to begin consulting with the industry to discuss sugar policy for CY ’24-’25. Valderrama said in his letter, “Consistent with our frequently-stated position, we reiterate that any sugar importation plan should be data-based, calibrated, totally transparent and fair, done in consultation with industry stakeholders and therefore immune from speculation and manipulation.” (TDE)

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