Benitez, senators plan sugar summit, eye consolidation of land to survive

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Joseph Victor Ejercito, Negros Occidental Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko, Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Benitez and Rep. Emilio Yulo III (l-r) met to discuss the sugar industry on Friday, December 2.*

Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez met with senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Joseph Victor Ejercito on Friday, December 2, to discuss the crafting of a plan to make the Philippine sugar industry globally competitive for it to survive.

Benitez, who met with the two senators, Rep. Emilio Yulo III (Neg. Occ., 5th District) and Negros Occidental Board Member Frederick Ko in Bacolod City, called for a sugar summit in January to be attended by industry stakeholders and officials of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and other national government agencies to craft the plan.

There is a need to consolidate sugar farms in the Philippines for efficient, productive and sustainable economies of scale, he said.

“We need to modernize through mechanization, which will make sense if a minimum of 2,000 hectares of land is consolidated,” Benitez said.

The proposed consolidation of farm lands will be discussed at the summit, he added.

Ejercito said the summit will tackle what we can do to revitalize and reinvent the sugar industry in Negros.

If we want to compete globally we need to consolidate land and mechanize, he said.

Ejercito and Yulo said the inputs from the summit can also be used to pursue the passage of further legislation to help the sugar industry.

Gatchalian and Ejercito were in Negros for the blessing and ribbon cutting of two classroom buildings at the Central Philippine State University – Valladolid Extension at Barangay Bagumbayan, Valladolid, Friday morning.

Yulo said they discussed how the sugar industry can become globally competitive through farm consolidation at the meeting Friday.

“Whatever is the result of the summit, we can bring it up with the national government,” he said.

They will also see if there is a need for legislation to address the concerns raised at the summit, he said.*

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