Sugar importation in September may millgate prices - Lacson

(File photo)
(File photo)

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson agrees with the farmers groups who are not amenable to the timing of the sugar importation in the coming month of September.

"We're short and the 200,000 Metric tons volume is ok but we are only concerned about the timing in September because that is the usual opening of the milling season," Lacson said citing the concerns of the sugar farmers.

The importation could be done now so that by the start of milling there's a market for our new production, Lacson added.

He added that if the importation is done in September it may affect the millgate price of sugar because that would mean a lot of sugar supply.

"Our target is the planters get the usual P3,000 per 50 kg bag and we will be ok," Lacson emphasized. 

In a related development, Farmers' groups support Confed's call for a consultative, transparent import plan.

“The NFSP and PANAYFED are united with CONFED in calling for a data-based, transparent, and consultative sugar importation plan,"   Enrique D. Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) and Danilo A. Abelita, president of the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers. (Panayfed) amid the recent announcement of the government’s plan to import 200,000 metric tons of refined sugar to arrive by September.

The statement further debunks malicious insinuations that the Sugar Council, an umbrella organization representing 67% of the production of affiliated sugarcane farmers and composed of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations (CONFED), NFSP, and PANAYFED, has disbanded.

“Our united commitment in the Sugar Council remains strong in advocating for the welfare of the majority of sugarcane farmers in the country,” Rojas and Abelita stressed.

Last week, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. announced that the government plans to authorize the importation of 200,000 mt refined sugar to arrive by September, which is traditionally the start of the milling season. The arrival of imported sugar at the start of the milling season will exert downward pressure on sugar prices.

The NFSP issued a statement published Friday last week that the government should import only when it is necessary, and in such a manner and schedule that the importation will not affect millgate prices.

Also Friday last week, CONFED president Aurelio Gerardo J. Valderrama, Jr. wrote to Sec. Laurel that the report about the government’s plan to import 200,000 mt refined sugar did not include any basis for such a plan, and neither was any stakeholder consultation conducted.

Valderrama shared that current 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. He pointed out that current rates of withdrawal indicate that local inventory can last without importation until the start of the milling season later this year.

“We call on the SRA to conduct a stakeholder consultation and enlighten us based on the proposed sugar importation plan. We need to see the sugar production and demand figures which were used as the basis for such a plan,” further said Rojas and Abelita. (TDE)

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