Luzon producers favor more sugar imports

August 21, 2019
Lilybeth Ison (Philippine News Agency) | https://bit.ly/2kiWFR2

MANILA -- A group of sugarcane producers based in Luzon is supporting a recent order of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) allowing additional importation of 250,000 metric tons refined sugar to stabilize prices in the local market.

Luzonfed said the SRA plays a bigger role in determining programs under the Sugar Industry Development Act (SIDA) that will help the sugar industry become globally competitive.

In a statement, Luzonfed chairman Cornelio Toreja said their group believes that "the SRA maintains statutory and discretionary authority to allow imports when local production cannot meet domestic demand."

Toreja said timely and limited importations, only through the SRA, can prevent drastic increases in domestic sugar price levels because of tightness in supply.

"This is part of our responsibility to the consuming public and is in the greater interest of our industry and our country," he noted.

The group also called on the government to allow the restoration of the entire SIDA fund of PHP2 billion annually.

This is one of the solutions to modernize the industry and make it more competitive, it added.

On October 1, 2018, the SRA issued Sugar Order (SO) No. 2 which allowed the release of 150,000 MT, and an additional 138,600 MT of imported sugar in the domestic market.

But with the projected increase in the demand for raw and refined sugar, coupled with the low production of domestic sugar especially during the off season, the SRA issued SO to ensure stable supply of the commodity and stabilize prices in the market. (PNA)

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