Philippines: Sugar groups seek consultation on sugar importation plan

The National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) and the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (Panayfed) are urging the government to consult industry stakeholders on its plan to import 200,000 metric tons (MT) of refined sugar by September.

In a joint statement emailed Tuesday, the groups called for a “data-based, transparent, and consultative sugar importation plan.”

NFSP President Enrique Rojas and Panayfed President Danilo Abelita requested that the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) provide a consultation to clarify the basis of the proposed importation. “We need to see the sugar production and demand figures which were used as the basis for such a plan,” the statement said.

The Confederation of Sugar Producers Association (Confed) had previously expressed concerns regarding the proposed importation, particularly its timing before the local harvest. Confed President Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama wrote to Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr., emphasizing that stakeholders were not consulted before the plan was announced. The group urged the SRA to involve stakeholders in discussions about policies for the 2024-2025 crop year, starting in September.

“Consistent with our frequently-stated position, we reiterate that any sugar importation plan should be data-based, calibrated, totally transparent, and fair, done in consultation with industry stakeholders and therefore immune from speculation and manipulation,” Valderrama stated.

Last week, Tiu Laurel unveiled the government’s plan to import 200,000 MT of refined sugar to stabilize retail prices and ensure a steady domestic supply. He noted that the plan had been under consideration for six months and aimed to address the anticipated supply gap before the next cropping season. “We expect current stocks to decline by August or September, so we need to plug the supply gap by importing 200,000 metric tons of refined sugar by September or October,” he said. The Department of Agriculture and the SRA are set to finalize the details in early July.

The NFSP emphasized that importing sugar should be a last resort, only when necessary. Meanwhile, the United Sugar Producers Federation (Unifed) supported the importation plan, citing delays in the harvest season caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

As of Tuesday, refined sugar prices in Metro Manila markets ranged from P74 to P90 per kilogram, down from P86 to P110 per kilogram during the same period last year, according to the Department of Agriculture’s price monitoring.


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