Leaders of the sugar industry are expected to come up with strategies to reclaim the P2 billion Sugar Industry Development Act fund, Frank Carbon, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer, said yesterday.
Industry leaders gathered this week for the 66th Annual National Convention of the Philippine Sugar Technologists Association at Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City, that kicked off yesterday and will run until August 16.
Carbon said part of the agenda of the convention is to tackle the underutilization of SIDA fund.
“The group will design strategies to reclaim the P2 billion SIDA fund for the sugar industry. Because of the underutilization of funds, the Department of Agriculture is also eyeing to use the said funds, and that was opposed by the industry,” he said.
Sugar leaders are lobbying for a larger allocation for the industry, pointing out that the SIDA requires an annual allocation of P2 billion to boost the competitiveness of the sugar industry.
Under the P2 billion SIDA fund, 15 percent will be allocated for grants to block farms, 15 percent for socialized credit, 15 percent for research and development, 5 percent for scholarship grants, and 50 percent for infrastructure support programs.
For 2020, the Department of Budget and Management only approved P67 million as appropriation for SIDA, a move that was contested by industry leaders.
From the P2 billion SIDA fund mandated by law, it was reduced to P750 million in 2018 and slashed further to P500 million in 2019.
Meanwhile, the convention, on the theme "Leveraging Change in the Age of Disruption", will also give industry stakeholders the latest technological advances and updates.*
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