Sugar farmgate prices drop, but retail still high

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Sugar farmgate prices drop, but retail still high
A retailer arranges packs of sugars in Pandacan, Manila on January 18, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines —  Farmgate prices of sugar have dropped to P60 per kilo, but its retail prices remain high at P110 due to overpricing, Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) head Pablo Azcona said yesterday.

Azcona said the P110 per kilo of refined sugar is a branded one being sold in supermarkets.

“We monitored that brand and it is consistently high. The charter of SRA (crafted) in 1986 made sure that we could not do something about pricing. What we do is through the supply and demand, we can bring down the retail prices, ensure that we have supply and as of now we have enough supply,” he said.

Based on the monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Metro Manila markets, retail prices of refined sugar ranged between P80 and P110 per kilo, washed sugar between P80 and P95 per kilo and brown sugar between P75 and P95 per kilo.

“At present, our sugar supply is more than twice the level compared to last year but the retail is still the same. The farmgate price even dropped to P60 (per kilo). Yesterday, farmers were selling at more or less P58 (per kilo),” Azcona said.

Based on computation, if raw sugar is at P60 per kilo, the farmgate price should be at P75 per kilo.

“Supposedly our problem here is even if it is branded, the source is still the same, the difference is the branding, it depends on the store. If the raw price of sugar, which is the farmers,’ is low and there is enough supply but the retail prices do not go down, that’s the problem,” Azcona said.

He said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is tasked to monitor the retail prices of sugar in the market.

“It should be the DTI but since the start of February, we have been trying to arrest the retail price and bring down the price. At least we now have P85 (per kilo) in the market, but when you say SRP, it is only the suggested retail price.The enforcement is the problem,” he said.

Azcona said there will be no more sugar imports until the end of the year after the importation of the additional 150,000 metric tons under Sugar Order No. 7.

He said the next importation would be done in April or May 2024 after the milling season.

He said that for crop year 2023 to 2024 or from Sept. 1, 2023 to Aug. 30, 2024, the SRA estimates that the total sugar production will reach 1.85 million metric tons.

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