Manila: Amidst the persistent decline in sugar prices, sugar producers are urgently appealing for government intervention to address the alarming drop that has significantly impacted the profit margins of producers, especially small-scale farmers, reported Philstar.
Manuel Lamata, President of the United Federation of Sugar Producers, conveyed their group’s concerns, revealing that they have formally sought intervention from President Marcos and Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. in response to the recent plunge in sugar prices to P2, 500 in the last two weeks in Negros. Notably, prices in Bukidnon have fallen even further to P2,300, a substantial decrease from the P3,200 levels observed during the same period last year.
Lamata underscored the disconcerting nature of the situation, highlighting that mill gate prices have dwindled to P50 per kilo, significantly below the production costs. Furthermore, retail prices persist at P80 to P85 per kilo, leaving farmers without substantial profits from the local market prices.
In addition to the decline in sugar prices, Lamata expressed concern about the escalating costs of fuel and fertilizers. He warned that if this trend continues, sustaining the current situation will become untenable, potentially dissuading farmers from participating in next year’s milling season.
The plea for government intervention includes an urgent appeal for the national government to purchase their sugar. Lamata stressed the urgency of the matter, urging to help the five million dependents of the sugar industry who are facing difficulty during these conditions. He feared that the workers would be displaced and their dependents would remain hungry.
Lamata acknowledged the President’s commitment to supporting farmers and expressed hope that the assurances made by President Marcos, stating that sugar prices should not drop below P3, 000, will be promptly realized. In conclusion, he called for the President’s intervention to alleviate the challenging circumstances faced by sugar farmers and the wider industry.