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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Bacolod: Sugar industry welcomes new agriculture head

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Bacolod City – The appointment of fishing tycoon Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. as the new secretary of the Department of Agriculture has the support of Sugar Regulatory Administration chief Pablo Azcona and presidents of various sugar planters’ federations in the country.

Azcona said they welcomed the appointment of Laurel Jr., as they are looking forward to strengthening their partnership with the Department of Agriculture, as they did in the past.

At the same time, Azcona also thanked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who served as DA acting secretary for more than a year, for the support and assistance extended to the SRA and the entire sugar industry.

President Marcos Jr. expressed confidence in Laurel’s capacity to lead the DA, given his decades-long experience and connections with experts in the field.

Laurel owns Frabelle Fishing Corporation, a deep sea fishing company supplying fresh, frozen, and processed seafood products to domestic and international markets. Before the appointment of Laurel as DA chief, he was part of the Private Sector Advisory Council’s agriculture group helping the government address food security issues.

The Sugar Council, composed of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP), Confederation of Sugar Producers Association (CONFED), and Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, Inc. (PANAYFED), also congratulated Laurel for his appointment as the new DA secretary.

In a statement, the Sugar Council said “We commit to you our full cooperation as you begin the challenging but rewarding job of managing the country’s agricultural assets in general, and the sugar industry in particular. To this end, we look forward to meeting you.”

NFSP is headed by Enrique Rojas, while CONFED and PANAYFED, are respectively led by Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama, Jr. and Danilo Abelita.

In separate statement, Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) said they are also looking forward to working with Laurel, present to him the state of the sugar industry, and how the department can extend its assistance and resources to the industry, particularly now that we are in the thick of the milling season. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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