Agri group downplays severity of sugar shortage, calls govt response 'confusing'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2022 02:10 PM

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MANILA – A group of agricultural workers said Thursday that the shortfall in sugar supply is not as bad as it is portrayed.

Butch Lozande, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura spokesman, said the group believes that the shortage is minimal and should not result in increased prices. 

“Naniniwala kami na merong shortfall, pero hindi ganoon kalala o kagrabe doon sa pino-project ng former (Sugar Regulatory Administration) administrator atsaka sa ibang grupo ng mga bottlers,” he said.

(We believe there is a shortfall, is it not just as big as the former sugar administrator and bottlers make it out to be.)

“At naniniwala kami na meron lang talagang nangyayaring hoarding at manipulation ng suplay para i-manipulate din yung presyo ng asukal lalong-lalo na sa ating mga public markets at supermarkets,” he added.

(We believe what is happening is that some groups are hoarding sugar to manipulate its prices especially in public markets and supermarkets.)

“Kung basehan natin yung figures ng SRA, is hindi naman ganoon kalaki yung shortfall if may shortfall man tayo sa ngayon. Kais ang carryover stock atsaka yung output, production output na 1 million metric tons, plus yung carryover stock na more than 255, 000 metric tons nung matapos ang ating milling year nitong nakaraang taon, is siguro around mga 20,000, 25,0000 metric tons yung ating kulang,” he explained. 

(If we look at the SRA figures, the shortfall isn’t that big, if there is indeed a shortfall. If you add the carryover stock and the production output, the production output is about 1 million metric tons, and the carryover stock is about 255,000 metric tons, then the shortfall is only 20,000-25,000 metric tons.)

The group also said the government’s position on the sugar importation mess was confusing. 

“Ang hindi lang talaga namin maano dito is yung very confusing and contradicting din yung position ng Malacanang palagi. Sabi niya kasi, merong artificial shortage at may nagho-hoard ng supply ng asukal, at the same time is amenable naman siya sa pag-import ‘no ng 150,000 metric tons,” he said.

(What we don’t understand is Malacanang’s very confusing and contradicting position on sugar importation. It said there is an artificial shortage and that there are sugar hoarders, but at the same time it is amenable to the importation of 150,000 metric tons of sugar.)

“Yung mga raids na ito, para sa amin nagpapakita ito na hindi ganoon kalala yung shortfall natin.”

(These raids show us that our shortfall isn't that bad.)

--ANC, 1 September 2022