Sugar Regulatory Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica has informed Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar of the call for government to boost the sugar industry’s potential to speed up the country’s economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Serafica endorsed the letter of National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) president Enrique Rojas to Dar where he raised his concern about the threat of COVID-19 to the livelihood of the Filipino people.
Rojas said he believes that the sugar industry and the whole agriculture sector present a unique opportunity to speed up the country’s economic recovery amid this pandemic, Serafica told Dar.
With ample government support, particularly in terms of farmer-friendly policies and easily accessible financing for expansion, modernization and productivity enhancement, the sugar industry can provide additional jobs and products to stimulate the economy as well as ensure food security, he also said.
Serafica said that in February 2020, he reported to the Sugar Board the discussion he had with LandBank vice president Emellie Tamayo on fast-tracking the utilization of the Sugar Industry Development Act Socialized Credit Program (SCP) fund by utilizing the sugarcane planters associations and cooperatives as credit conduits.
This scheme was utilized by LandBank for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and they were able to utilize the funds in six months, Serafica said.
This proposal was already endorsed to the SCP Committee chaired by SRA Board Member Roland Beltran in February 2020 but to date there has been no action yet, Serafica told Dar.
“May I suggest that the SCP Committee be directed to act on this with urgency,” Serafica said.*
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