By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental 5th district Congressman Emilio Yulo III is calling on the national government to intervene as prices of domestic sugar continue to go down.
Yulo said the government needs to help local sugar producers immediately, particularly small farmers that comprise more than 80 percent of the country’s sugar industry.
He added that lower sugar prices have already taken a toll on small farmers for the past few weeks, and it was “heartbreaking” to see them suffer this Christmas season.
The lawmaker, who was also previously a board member of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), said one option to stop the downtrend in sugar prices is for the government to buy sugar directly from the producers at a price that will give them some margin of profit from their losses since sugar prices went below production cost.
Yulo said the national government intervened in the past, when they ordered the National Food Authority to buy palay directly from farmers.
“We can do the same for the sugar industry until prices stabilize,” Yulo said.
He further pointed out that the government could then sell the sugar directly to the consumers to bring down the retail prices, which have not gone down despite low millgate prices in the past few weeks.
The current price of sugar has seen a loss of at least P40,000 per hectare.
With most small farmers owning within one to three hectares, the low price has particularly hit them the most./DGB, WDJ