DA chief: Sugar planters agree to lower refined sugar price

By: Inquirer.net September 16,2018 - 09:32 PM

Emmanuel Pinol.

BACOLOD CITY— Sugar planters have volunteered to sell refined sugar at P48 per kilo and allow the government to import up to 300,000 metric tons of sugar to bring down prices in the market.

This was announced by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol in his Facebook page on Sunday.

Describing the move as “unprecedented,” Pinol said the sugar planters decided to change their stand on sugar importation to show President Rodrigo Duterte that they support his efforts to bring down prices of goods in the market.

He said in his post that the sugar planters announced their decision during a diner meeting with Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City last Thursday.

When reached for comment, Dino Yulo, the planters’ representative to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Board, said they agreed to “a calibrated and pre-emptive importation program if the situation warrants” provided that the SRA would be on top of the situation and continue to exercise its mandate as provided for by law.

He said, however, that the measure would directly benefit the consumers.

“Sugar milling season has already started and we are confident that we have enough sugar supply in the country but we are agreeable to this measure in order to avoid a situation similar to what has happened to the rice industry recently,” he added.

The agreement, Yulo said, was the sugar industry’s contribution to the Duterte’s administration in curbing inflation and in the nation’s development in the way that the President and the Department of Agriculture had also extended their support to the industry.

In his Facebook post,Piñol said the sugar planters wanted the importation to be for the consumer market.

He said the sugar planters promised not to ask for royalty payments unlike in previous importations.

In the past, the SRA issued import permits to the planters associations who sold the import permits to traders who in turn sold the sugar to the end users, Piñol said.

“The system allowed unscrupulous traders to control the imported sugar and the prices. It also failed to bring down prices of sugar in the market,” he said.

The sugar farmers also committed to release to the market their remaining supply of refined sugar to be sold at P48 per kilo, Piñol added.

“We would like to assure the President that the sugar farmers are fully behind him,” the sugar planters declared during our meeting,” he said.

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