Philippines: UNIFED welcomes increase in farmgate prices of sugar

Bacolod City: The Philippines’ largest independent sugar planters’ group, the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED), praised a recent increase in farmgate prices, attributing it to government intervention, reported Philippine News Agency

UNIFED President Manuel Lamata conveyed in a statement on Monday that the substantial PHP200 increase per 50-kilo bag brings significant relief to farmers, marking a positive shift after an extended period of low sugar prices.

The farmgate price for a 50-kilo bag rose from PHP2,400 to PHP2,600 last week, breaking the trend of prices remaining below PHP2,500 since the previous year, as noted by Lamata. He credited the collaborative efforts of Department of Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. and officials from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), including Administrator Pablo Azcona and Board Members David Sanson and Mitzi Mangwag, for successfully rallying sugar traders to procure sugar at improved rates.

Expressing gratitude, Lamata acknowledged Secretary Laurel, Administrator Azcona, and the SRA Board for their persistent commitment to finding solutions. He also extended thanks to the sugar traders who cooperated with the SRA’s initiative to secure better sugar prices.

Lamata highlighted the resilience of SRA officials in the face of criticism from some quarters of the sugar industry, emphasizing that these officials not only weathered the attacks but also actively worked to address challenges. In Negros Occidental, the leading sugar-producing province in the country, bidding prices in seven sugar mills ranged between PHP2,610 and PHP2,595 per 50-kilo bag as of February 22.

Earlier this month, UNIFED voiced support for the national government’s intervention to mitigate farmgate sugar prices. Lamata clarified that, in addition to the initial PHP5 billion buy-back local sugar scheme, a second program has been introduced. This new initiative involves traders purchasing local sugar to be reserved and subsequently acquired by the national government, presenting a multifaceted approach to address challenges within the sugar industry.


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