Philippines: Government is considering to buy sugar directly from producers

Bacolod City: The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) stated on Thursday that the national government is earnestly considering the direct purchase of sugar from farmers early next year, reported PNA.

The move aims to bolster farmgate prices and concurrently reduce retail prices, according to SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona. Speaking at a press briefing, Azcona revealed that this intervention has been in the planning stages for some time, with the government exploring the possibility of resuming sugar purchases akin to past practices with the National Food Authority.

Azcona explained, “It will come in and buy sugar directly from the farmers to boost the price, start a spark. They have a temporary funding allocated for it.” The SRA chief shared this development in response to sugar producers’ federations seeking assistance from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. amidst the declining farmgate prices of sugar.

Despite a fair market price of PHP3,000 per 50-kilo bag, farmgate sugar prices are reported to be approximately PHP2,500 in Negros and even lower at the PHP2, 300-level in Bukidnon in recent weeks, according to the United Sugar Producers Federation. These figures fall significantly below last year’s levels of PHP3,200 for the same period.

Azcona clarified that while the SRA itself cannot engage in marketing or pricing activities, the Department of Agriculture has been leading efforts to explore the legalities and logistics involved. He stated, “We are checking the legalities of the agencies involved. Can they do it, where to bring the sugar, what will we do with the sugar they will buy? Possible agencies are those involved in trading.”

Additionally, Azcona mentioned that they have sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), requesting permission for the Philippines to deliver a portion of the country’s US sugar quota. He noted, “There are producers and traders who volunteered (to supply). I wrote the USDA asking for an allocation.”

As of November 12, raw sugar production for the 2023-2024 crop year stands at almost 400,000 metric tons, constituting approximately 25% of the total estimates. Azcona reassured stakeholders, stating, “For the farmers and everybody involved, rest assured, based on the data we have right now, there are no plans to do any sugar importation.”


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