Sugar farmers junk DA proposal on HFCS use
Gilbert Bayoran (The Philippine Star) - April 2, 2017 - 12:00am

Bacolod City , Philippines – The Sugar Alliance of the Philippines said the “win-win” solution offered by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on the importation and use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by beverage companies is unacceptable.

“It continues to reek of preference for the beverage companies rather than for sugar farmers,” SAP spokesperson Dino Yulo said.

Coca-Cola uses 90 percent HFCS and just 10 percent sugar.

But Piñol said Coca-Cola is willing to adjust to up to 80:20 ratio.

He added that Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines has vowed to increase its local sugar procurement provided the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) allows its access to the export market, which is significantly cheaper than the domestic one.

Yulo said Piñol seems to be seeing only one side of the equation, and unfortunately that side favors the multinationals rather than the sector he needs to be protecting.

“We have been calling for ‘proper consultation’ and we are taken aback by these pronouncements from the secretary sans a dialog, foremost with the affected parties, and in this case, the sugar industry stakeholders,” he added.

Piñol said Coca-Cola agreed to make advance purchase of its 2018 sugar requirement to stabilize the current oversupply in the country.

“They also agreed to increase even more their utilization of sugar provided that they’ll be given access to ‘D’ sugar,” he added.

Yulo said Piñol knows farmers are barely surviving and have nothing extra to even buy inputs for the next planting.

 “D” sugar which accounts for 20 percent of the country’s produce, is currently valued at P900 per 50-kilogram bag while “B” sugar which is 74 percent is valued at the P1,400 level. The remaining six percent is “A” sugar which falls under the US quota, SAP said.

The company has been given six months to restructure its production process to avoid a surge in soft drink prices.

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