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Call for help

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Groups and other stakeholders in the sugar industry, especially from the side of the farmers, have been calling out to national government, particularly President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr., to help stabilize the price of sugar, which is currently way below the range they expected in order to have a profitable crop.

The prevailing prices of sugar are reported at between P2,300 to P2,500 per 50-kilogram bag, which is below the price level expected by sugar farmers to provide a comfortable profit margin for them, which had been established at P3,200.

As sugar planters are blaming the importation policies of the government for the currently unsustainable low prices, they are urging the government to step in to ensure that they get fair returns from tilling the land, as the unexpectedly low price of sugar does not bode well for the survival of the industry in the long term, and in the short term, will likely be the cause of a miserable Christmas for the millions involved in sugar production in the country.

The current price of sugar is seen as a loss of at least P40,000 per hectare being filled, which will drastically affect the lives of the farmers, especially the small ones who were already struggling to profitably cultivate only 1 to 3 hectares of farmland.

These stakeholders have been pleading for their government to step in and help them, but so far, it has been seemingly falling on deaf ears, despite the president having displayed keen interest in the agriculture sector by choosing himself as agriculture secretary. It would seem that the sugar producers of the country will need to cry out louder or try harder to cash in the promises and favors that were promised when they believed the campaign promises of politicos who convinced them that they had the interests of the industry in their minds and hearts when they visited to woo votes.

The current woes of the sugar industry has exposed its vulnerability to the whims of national government leaders and their policies, especially when it turns out that they favor importation over local producers.

As we now hope that our appeals for the industry reaches those who have been given the power to help us, perhaps we should also do better to protect the industry if we are going to keep it viable, either by making it more efficient so it can compete with imports, and instead of falling for campaign promises and slogans, maybe we should also put more due diligence into the leanings, interests, and motivations of the people we ultimately put in charge of our way of life.*

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