‘Much-needed intervention’; Unifed calls for gov’t help amid drop in sugar prices

Posted by watchmen
December 11, 2023
Posted in HEADLINE

By Mae Singuay

The United Sugar Producers Federation (Unifed) is calling for “much-needed intervention” from the national government following a decline in the prices of sugar, way below the comfortable profit margin for sugar producers, particularly small farmers.

Unifed president Manuel Lamata asked for possible state intervention from President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. as sugar prices continue to plummet in the past two weeks at P2,500 per bag in Negros Island, and even lower at P2,300 per bag in Bukidnon, compared to P3,200 in the same period last year.

“This is very disconcerting because mill gate prices are now at P50 per kilo, which is way lower than our production costs. Moreover, retail prices continue to remain at P80 to P85 per kilo, and farmers are clearly not profiting from the local market prices,” Lamata said.

“Furthermore, fuel and fertilizer prices are also on the rise, and if this continues, we cannot sustain the situation and farmers may not be inclined to produce for next year’s milling season,” he added.

Lamata said a consultation among various sugar associations under Unifed has led to an “urgent appeal for the national government to intervene and buy our sugar.”

“Please help us and the five million dependents of the sugar industry who will clearly not be enjoying the holidays under this condition, and we fear that many workers will be displaced, and their dependents go hungry,” Lamata said, adding that most farmers were hoping that Marcos’ pronouncements on sugar prices should not go down below P3,000 will start to kick in.

“We know President Marcos’ heart is with the farmers as he has told us so, and we are calling for his intervention on this matter,” Lamata said.

In October, the Sugar Regulatory Administration was looking into the possibility of sugar price manipulation amid the drop in the farm gate prices of locally-produced sugar.

The average price of raw sugar fell between P2,500 and P2,750 per bag during the crop year’s first two weeks, and “continues to go down, to the detriment of the sugar farmers, allegedly by reason of oversupply.”/MS, WDJ



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