BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (UNIFED) has expressed its support the planned importation of 150,000 metric tons of refined sugar, as proposed by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
In a statement, UNIFED president Manuel Lamata said he wants to announce his personal support to the import plan, contrary to what three other sugar federations and the millers group that instead proposed a sugar importation plan of 300,000 MT, similar to what the former SRA board issued.
Lamata was referring to last week’s joint statement issued by the Confederation of Sugar Producers (CONFED) the National Federation of Sugar Planters (NFSP), PanayFed and the Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA).
NFSP, Confed, Panay Fed and the PSMA earlier asked SRA how it arrived at the proposed importation of 150,000 metric tons of sugar, as embodied in the draft Sugar Order No. 2 which the agency intends to issue at the start of the upcoming crop year.
Lamata said it is ironic for these federations to extend their hand of support to the new SRA Board, yet “it just a couple of days, they are trying to publicly undermine the new leadership.”
“Have these federations converted to being sugar traders? Logic dictates that if the 300,000 MT of imported sugar they are proposing reaches our country by November or December, which is the peak of our milling season, for sure mill gate prices will collapse,” Lamata said.
“Are these sugar groups still protecting the interests of their planters?” Lamata asked, saying that act alone indicates they are ready to “suppress local prices of planters.”
Lamata said he is calling on fellow planters to “join us in UNIFED because we remain a pro-planters federation who will protect your livelihood and interest in the sugar industry.”*