The Vicmico Planters Association (VPA) on Thursday, September 15, aired a complaint against Victorias Milling Co. (VMC) for an alleged “act of oppression against sugar farmers who simply want to mill their sugarcane in any mill they choose”.
The VPA officers and members of the board headed by Aurelio Gerado “Bodie” Valderrama Jr., in a press release, said the mill recently closed a major road going out to other mills.
This has deprived the VPA members and other farmers who are not milling with VMC of the use of the road, the press release said.
“In the guise of road repairs, Victorias Milling Company has closed the roads leading to other mills to members of our association, while the mill continues to allow non-VPA members to use the said roads. In addition, the mill refuses to accept the canes of our members, unless they mill individually, in effect encouraging and incentivizing sugar farmers to mill with Victorias Milling Company without affiliation to our association,” the VPA press release claimed.
This imposes additional burden and trucking costs to small farmer members, especially the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, it said.
“Our members have asked us to bring this issue to the attention of Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson, Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), the Sugar Regulatory Administration and Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban for resolution,” VPA stated.
VMC could not be reached for comment.*