Sugar producers group seeks State intervention in ‘disturbing’ price dip

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – A group of sugar producers called for a “much-needed intervention” from the national government after sugar prices have been dropping “uncomfortably.”

The United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) claimed in a statement issued on Sunday that “sugar prices have been dropping at a level that is way below the comfortable profit margin for sugar producers, particularly for small farmers.”

UNIFED President Manuel Lamata asked for a possible state intervention from President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Department of Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. as sugar prices continue to plummet at P2,500 in the past two weeks in Negros and even lower at P2,300 levels in Bukidnon, way below the price levels of P3,200 in the same period last year.

“This is very disconcerting because mill gate prices are now at P50 per kilo which is way lower than our production costs. Moreover, retail prices continue to remain at P80 – P85 per kilo and the farmers are clearly not profiting from the local market prices,” Lamata further said.

Furthermore, fuel and fertilizer prices are also on the rise and if this continues, we cannot sustain the situation and farmers may not be inclined to produce for next year’s milling season, Lamata added.

With this, Lamata said that consultation among the various sugar associations under their umbrella has led to an “urgent appeal for the national government to intervene and buy our sugar.”

“Please help us and the 5 million dependents of the sugar industry who will clearly not be enjoying the holidays under this condition and we fear that many workers will be displaced and their dependents go hungry,” Lamata said.

He added that most farmers were hoping that the pronouncements of the President that sugar prices should not go down below P3,000 would start to kick in.

“We know President Marcos’ heart is with and for the farmers as he has told us so, and we are calling for his intervention on this matter,” Lamata stressed.