SRA probe on, won’t take drop in millgate prices sitting down

Anything below P3,000 will allow some farmers to just break-even while the rest may not be able to do so, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said.*

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is investigating the drop in sugar millgate prices to below P3,000 per 50-kilogram (Lkg) bag.

“Definitely none of the farmers want the low price so we will focus our investigation among the mills, traders and importers to see if there is some abnormality in their dealings but rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this”, SRA Administrator Pablo Azcona said Monday, September 18.

“Someone is definitely making a scenario and we will not take this sitting down,” he said.

Azcona said he was informed that trading of sugar went below the P3,000 mark that the SRA had forecasted.

“Two mills had prices a little beyond P3,000 but some went as low as P2,550 to P2,700 which was a bit surprising and SRA is now looking into what could have caused the price depression during trading last week,” he said.

Sugar at Universal Robina Corp. (URC) – La Carlota sold at P2,550, Victorias Milling Co. at P2,600, and at Sagay Central – P2,700, Azcona told DIGICAST NEGROS on Sunday.

However, the millgate sugar price at Hawaiian Philippine Co. in Silay City was at P3,039 and P3,011 at First Farmers Holding Corp. in Talisay City.

Azcona said since February “we have maintained prices at a comfortable level of P3,000 which is equivalent to P60/kilogram at farmgate raw price and P85/kilogram refined in retail price in Metro Manila”.

“We have been pushing for the P3,000 price as I feel it is the fair market price and this has been echoed by the administration as well as an incentive for farmers to plant more and be more sustainable,” he added.

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson also reiterated the need for millgate prices to remain at P3,000 per Lkg.

“What we know is there were a lot of approved importation but we are confident that the SRA officials who are mostly from Negros are also aware of what the planters are expecting,” Lacson said.

The governor said he hopes the price rebounds because anything below P3,000 will allow some farmers to just break-even while the rest may not be able to do so.

The rising prices of fuel are also expected to drive up fertilizer prices, it was pointed out.*

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