By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has urged Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar to resolve the problem of disparity in farm gate and market prices on agricultural products, particularly sugarcane.
In a hearing conducted earlier this month, Zubiri pointed out that the sugar industry comprises almost a fourth of the country’s economy, with Negros Occidental as the largest producer.
Zubiri said five million people are directly or indirectly affected by any changes in the industry.
He cited the insurgency problem in Negros which could have been prevented if workers receive their fair share.
“If they go hungry because there is no food on the table, of course they would take up arms,” Zubiri said.
Zubiri reminded Dar that the sugar industry is a very important sector and considered the “lifeblood” of many communities.
He added that 80 to 90 percent of the industry stakeholders are agrarian reform beneficiaries.
He also urged Dar to help bridge the gap by eliminating the middleman and come up with a program where farmers can directly sell to major food processing companies.
“What the farmers are asking are only stable prices and at the end of the day the consumer are also not burdened because it is no longer expensive,” he added.