Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said on Wednesday, January 25, that the sugar industry is not totally against importation, what is important is the volume and timing of the entry of the sugar into the country.
“We’re not against it for as long as we will avoid smuggling and the importation is well studied,” he said.
The sugar should be brought in at the end of milling, he said.
“We trust our new officers of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to study it very well”, Lacson said.
The United Sugar Producers Federation earlier said it fully supports the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture and the SRA to import 450,000 metric tons of refined sugar to help arrest retail prices.
“We are fully supporting the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to import refined sugar that will hopefully arrest runaway retail prices,” UNIFED President Manuel Lamata said.
The sugar stakeholders are being consulted on the volume that varies between 400,000-450,000 MT, which to UNIFED “is an acceptable volume for buffer stocks amidst speculation that there may be a shortage by the end of the milling season”, Lamata said.
Lamata urged SRA to “program well the releases of these imported sugar to ensure that millgate prices will not be drastically affected to the detriment of the sugar farmers.”
Enrique Rojas, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters president, said they recognize the need for importation and the necessity of a buffer stock of sugar.
However, without knowing the actual and projected production and consumption figures for this crop year, we are groping in the dark as to the actual volume of imported sugar which we need for domestic consumption, he said.
“We reiterate our request for SRA to enlighten the sugar producers by giving us the actual and projected production and consumption figures for this crop year,” he said.*