The Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations is urging the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to reconsider Sugar Order No. 3 that allows the importation of 200,000 metric tons of sugar and to make appropriate revisions that would be responsive to the interest of its stakeholders.
The sugar industry in particular, and Philippine agriculture in general, are seeing drastic surges in the cost of agricultural inputs, such as fuel and fertilizer, CONFED said in a press statement Friday, February 18.
“But instead of coming up with measures to buoy up prices of domestic sugar and seeking ways to keep production costs at bay, SRA is going the other way,” the CONFED statement said.
Sugar Order No. 3 has already pulled down the prices of sugar by more than P200 per bag and it comes at a time when sugar producers and farm workers are still trying to recover from the most damaging impact of COVID-19, it said.
“While CONFED is concerned primarily with the interest of its planter-members, we are not oblivious of the need to balance the interest of all sectors in society,” it said.
CONFED has submitted the following proposals to the SRA:
- Any sugar importation authorized by SRA should be calibrated and well-timed so as not to unduly affect the domestic market for raw sugar;
- The volume allowed for importation shall be an initial 50,000 MT of refined sugar (standard, bottler’s grade or premium) to be authorized through a Sugar Order at the earliest possible time;
- Total imports should not exceed an additional 100,000 MT, if determined – in consultation with industry stakeholders – to be necessary;
- The allowed importation should be only for industrial end-users, preferably on a pro-rata basis according to SRA-verified requirements of qualified applicants;
- SRA should establish the appropriate application/allocation guidelines to ensure fair allocations to qualified end-users who may import directly if authorized as sugar traders or through SRA-accredited sugar traders of their choice;
- All imported sugar under this program shall be classified as “C” or Reserve sugar, subject to the issuance of SRA Release Orders prior to withdrawal from the Bureau of Customs; and
- SRA shall inform industry stakeholders on the implementation of the import program, to include all approved allocations and deliveries/withdrawals by concerned parties, for purposes of transparency and discussion of subsequent actions that may be called for.
SRA did not accept CONFED’s proposal with regards to the volume of importation but included in Sugar Order No. 3 CONFED’s proposal to classify as “C” or reserve sugar all importation, the press statement said.*