Proactive move; Sugar Council lauds direct sugar purchase initiative

Posted by watchmen
January 26, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE

By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

The Sugar Council expressed appreciation for the national government’s proactive move to stabilize domestic sugar prices, aiming to provide relief for farmers grappling with persistently low millgate prices in recent months.

In a press statement released yesterday, the Sugar Council — composed of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc. (Confed), the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP), and the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (Panayfed) — commended President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. for their commitment to allocate funds for the direct purchase of sugar from local producers.

“We hope that with this timely government intervention, prices can improve in the remaining months of the crop year,” the Sugar Council said in a statement.

The three federations — led by presidents Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama, Jr. of Confed, Enrique Rojas of NFSP, and Danilo Abelita of Panayfed — represent the majority of sugar producers.

“We thank Secretary Laurel for inviting the Sugar Council and consulting our federations in crafting proposals to address the industry’s pressing concerns,” the council noted, highlighting the secretary’s willingness to consider the group’s recommendations during a meeting.

The Sugar Council looks forward to continued consultative decision-making processes with the Department of Agriculture and Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), emphasizing the importance of involving stakeholders in critical decisions, as observed in the past administrations.

Sugar farmers are hopeful that the government’s intervention will lead to an increase in sugar prices, currently at a low of P2,400 per bag, which will enable them to recover costs and sustain the next crop year.

While the details of the government’s plan are still being finalized, industry insiders are discussing sugar prices ranging from P2,700 to P2,800 per bag.

However, the Sugar Council issues a caution against “hoarding” sugar quedans in anticipation of higher prices resulting from the government measure.

The council stressed that direct buying should apply exclusively to newly-milled sugar stocks covered by SRA’s Sugar Order, excluding past weeks’ production.

“This is consistent with the government’s intent to ensure fair treatment for all, especially small sugar farmers who cannot afford to hold on to their quedans to wait for better prices. The program cannot allow the better-financed producers to benefit more than those with fewer resources,” the Sugar Council said./DGB, WDJ


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *