By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez yesterday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the ongoing decline in “mill gate” sugar prices.
Through House Resolution No. 1512, the congressman cited 2017-2018 crop year data showing “mill gate prices continued to decline, starting September 2017, dropping by 26 percent to P1,190 per 50-kilogram bag as of November 5.”
He noted, a 50-kilogram bag cost P1,618 in the same period last year.
“The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has also noted that the wholesale prices of sugar also declined by 21 percent to P1,500 per 50-kilogram bag for raw sugar,” the resolution added.
It also cited drops in washed sugar and refined sugar.
Benitez quoted the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Producers Federation (NeFARB), who claimed small farmers cannot survive on current prices.
“The industry alleges [there is] price manipulation by a possible cartel,” the congressman explained.
He also pointed to the suspected smuggling of high fructose corn syrup as a factor in decreasing sugar prices./DGB, WDJ