In a joint statement signed by Aurelio “Bodie” Valderrama, president of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations Inc. (CONFED), Enrique Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters Inc. (NFSP) and Danilo Abelita, president of the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (PANAYFED), the industry leaders rued that sugar prices have plunged by close to P1,000 per bag over the last three weeks.
The statement added that this is a matter of grave concern for producers, who continue to reel from increasing costs of production. The reasons can be attributed to a possible spike in sugar smuggling coupled with an increase in sugar inventory due to imports and peaking of milling operations.
They reiterated our call for intensified anti-smuggling operations even as they carefully analyze production and supply-demand forecasts, so that sugar policy – particularly on imports – will not precipitate a further drop in prices.
The statement likewise called on all stakeholders to seek ways to address production drops due to unfavorable weather, as well as the increasing costs of production, with support from government, particularly fertilizer and fuel subsidies or other measures to help reduce production costs and/or improve yields.
“These are challenging times for the sugar industry and we must pursue all possible measures to meet the challenges head-on. We can do it if we work in concert with all concerned stakeholders,” the statement concluded.*