Bacolod: Three more sugar groups oppose sugar importation

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BACOLOD City – Three more sugarcane producers’ federations have joined the call against importation of refined sugar.

Earlier, the United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (UNIFED) appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to stop the importation of 64,050 metric tons of sugar while sugar milling is at its peak.

In a joint statement, the Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc. (CONFED), National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) and Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (PANAYFED) also urged the government to engage in an earnest dialogue with the sugar industry to resolve vital issues.

The three sugar producers’ group stressed that there is adequate supply as of this time, citing a report of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

In a memorandum order issued by Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, the DA was directed to expedite the importation of 64,050 metric tons of refined sugar through the Minimum Access Volume importation plan.

Citing the latest Summary Inflation Report of Consumer Price Index (2018-100), which was released Dec. 6, Panganiban said that the annual inflation increment for sugars, confectionary, and desserts has reached 38 percent.

The Sugarcane Producers’ Federations, composed of NFSP, CONFED and PANAYFED, who represent 50 percent of domestic sugar production, said that based on SRA data, the current refined sugar inventory is higher by 56.66 percent compared to the same period (September 1 to December 11) last year, due to higher refinery output and previous import balances, meaning “there is an adequate supply at this time to meet current needs.”

On his part, UNIFED President Manuel Lamata said that “we are at the peak of harvest and we have abundant stocks of raw and refined sugar, as such we see no need to import sugar at this time.”

“We are appealing to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to halt this importation of refined sugar through the minimum access volume mechanism until the results of a post-assessment of sugar stocks after the end of the milling season can be conducted,” Lamata added. (Dolly Yasa via tdg photo by tdg)

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