Planters support conversion of US sugar quota to local consumption

(Photo Courtesy of Manila Bulletin)

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – A sugar planters’ organization in northern Negros supports the call of Senator Miguel Zubiri to convert US sugar quota to local consumption.

In a resolution, Negros del Norte Planters Association said it “strongly declares one hundred percent (100 %)  support to the call of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri urging the Department of Agriculture and the Segar Regulatory Administration to pursue all-out efforts to uplift the current depressed condition of the Philippine Sugar Industry by specifically, pushing for the conversion of the Tariff- Rate Quota (TRQ) of the United States of America allocation of sugar for local industrial consumers.”

The resolution signed by the association’s secretary Manuel Frederick Ko said it “strongly calls for an all-out ‘B’ or domestic sugar for the current Crop Year 2019-2010, instead of the SRA Sugar Order Number 2 which classifies Sugar as ‘A’ (for export in the US) at 5 percent and ‘B’ (domestic sugar) at 95 percent.”

Earlier the Confederation of Sugar Producers (CONFED) said it agrees with Zubiri that the “A” allocation should have been kept as “B” is for domestic use “since we fall short in our sugar production to accommodate and supply the local demand.”

CONFED spokesman Raymond Montinola said “This allocation could have provided better prices for our local farmers who are in a quandary as to the marginal farmgate prices of sugar in the past 3 years.”

He said it is also CONFED’s position that only beverage companies will be allowed direct access to sugar imports as they have a preferred standard for their soft drink manufacturer (bottler’s grade – refined sugar), but it must be emphasized that this should be under the direct supervision of the SRA for a calibrated, timely and transparent import program.