No need for PH to import 150,000 MT of sugar, says agri group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2022 06:27 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Sugar being sold at the Bustillos market in Manila on Aug. 16, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — A farmers' group on Thursday opposed the government's plan to import up to 150,000 metric tons of sugar to address the purported shortage of the commodity.

According to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairperson emeritus Rafael Mariano, the import plan will coincide with the start of the milling season.

"Sa tingin namin at pag-aanalisa sa mga huling announcement, walang dahilan eh para mag-issue pa ng Sugar Order No. 2 para sa pag-angkat ng 150,000 metric tons, lalo na kung 'yan ay inaasahang darating sa buwan ng Nobyembre," he said.

(In our analysis of the latest announcement, there is no reason to issue Sugar Order No. 2 to import 150,000 metric tons of sugar, especially if we expect to get that in November.)

Most mills are already operating, and locally produced sugar will augment the country's supply, he added. The crop year began in September.

"Ibig sabihin, wala rin siyang magiging epekto sa presyo ng ating asukal sa merkado," the former Agrarian Reform secretary said.

(This means it will have no effect on the price of our sugar in the market.)

The group also criticized the government for a lack of sugar inventory in the country.

"Walang dahilan para hindi alam ng gobyerno 'yung kabuuang supply natin ng asukal, ano man ang classification diyan," Mariano said.

(There is no reason for our government not to know our total supply, whatever its classification is.) 

The Philippine government through Sugar Order No. 2 officially gave the green light to import 150,000 metric tons of sugar. 

This is half the amount that the Sugar Regulator Administration earlier approved for import in an order that Malacañang later said was "illegal." The issue had prompted legislative probes and the resignation of several officials. 

The sugar imports under the new Order No. 2 are expected to arrive before Nov. 15.

A sugar producers' group has welcomed the SRA's move, saying this would help ensure enough sugar supply and lower prices.

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