Group asks President Marcos to intervene in sugar pricing

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Group asks President Marcos to intervene in sugar pricing
A worker arranges packs of white sugar at Dagonoy Public Market in San Andres Bukid, Manila on May 18, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — Sugar farmers are calling for government intervention amid the continued decline in prices of sugar, noting that it has been dropping to a level way below the comfortable profit margin for sugar producers, particularly small farmers.

Manuel Lamata, United Federation of Sugar Producers president, said in a statement issued yesterday that their group has asked President Marcos and Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. for a possible state intervention as sugar prices continue to plummet to P2,500 in the past two weeks in Negros.

He said this is even lower in Bukidnon at P2,300 levels, way below the price levels of P3,200 in the same period last year.

“This is very disconcerting because mill gate prices are now at P50 per kilo which is way lower than our production costs. Moreover, retail prices continue to remain at P80 to P85 per kilo and the farmers are clearly not profiting from the local market prices,” Lamata said.

He emphasized that fuel and fertilizer prices are also on the rise and “if this continues, we cannot sustain the situation and farmers may not be inclined to produce for next year’s milling season.”

With this, Lamata said that consultation among the various sugar associations under their umbrella has led to an “urgent appeal for the national government to intervene and buy our sugar.”

“Please help us and the five million dependents of the sugar industry who will clearly not be enjoying the holidays under this condition. We fear that many workers will be displaced and their dependents go hungry,” Lamata said, adding that most farmers were hoping that the pronouncements of the President that sugar prices should not go down below P3,000 will start to kick in.

“We know President Marcos’ heart is with and for the farmers as he has told us so, and we are calling for his intervention on this matter,” he also said.

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