SRA pushes for P85 sugar retail price

SRA Acting Administrator Paul Azcona*

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is appealing to retailers to sell refined sugar at a suggested retail price (SRP) of P85 a kilo amidst complaints that some, particularly in Metro Manila, are still selling at P110 per kilo.

“We have enough sugar supply, I don’t not see any reason why retailers can’t bring their prices down to a much affordable rate for our consumers,” SRA Acting Administrator Paul Azcona said on Friday, June 9.

Azcona said the SRA has no powers to enforce the SRP so he is also urging other government agencies and local government units to implement such.

He also urged the public to patronize Kadiwa Rolling Stores where sugar is being sold at a much lower price of P70/kilo.

Mill gate prices are averaging P60/kilo and even with the added cost of refining sugar, hauling, repacking, and retailing, “everyone is profiting enough to make it available to the consuming public at P85/kilo”, Azcona said

Most, if not all mills, have closed and the SRA is in the process of collating domestic production figures to determine the amount of sugar that needs to be imported to serve as buffer in the event that the planned re-opening of the milling season will be moved to the proper start of the new crop, which is September 1 to increase productivity, Azcona said.

The constant move to mill earlier than September has led to a decrease in yield from immature cane milled, to the detriment of the farmer as it makes the country more dependent on imports, he said.

Some sugar mills ended their operations early because they lack bagasse to power their mills, caused by weather conditions.

With this new development, we are studying closely if delaying the next milling season will help our production before we make the necessary recommendations, Azcona said.

He told DIGICAST NEGROS that because of the early closure of the refineries, production of refined sugar dropped by 100,000 metric tons this crop year.

The government is considering the importation of an additional 150,000 MT of refined sugar before September 15, he said.

He said of the 440,000 MT of refined sugar earlier approved for imporation 240,000MT has already arrived in the country.

The additional 200,000 will arrive before September, he said.

It should come before the first batch of locally produced sugar comes out, he said.

Azcona said that he has been doing the rounds of consulting with various sugar stakeholders to prepare for the next crop year.*

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