UNIFED asks Marcos to stop sugar importation

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (UNIFED) appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to stop the importation of 64,050 metric tons of sugar while sugar milling is at its peak.

UNIFED President Manuel Lamata said on Wednesday that “we are at the peak of harvest and we have abundant stocks of raw and refined sugar, as such we see no need to import sugar at this time.”

“We are appealing to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to halt this importation of refined sugar through the minimum access volume mechanism until the results of a post-assessment of sugar stocks after the end of the milling season can be conducted,” Lamata added.

UNIFED made the appeal after Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban released Memorandum Order 77 on Wednesday, stating that the President, who is the concurrent Agriculture Secretary, ordered the department to “take action and to stabilize sugar prices” after a 38-percent price increase in November.

In the memo, Panganiban ordered the immediate convening of the MAV Advisory Council and expediting the importation of 64,050 metric tons of refined sugar.

Lamata stressed that they are not against importation per se “but to do it now will be disastrous to our local sugar farmers.”

He added that in the past three weeks, “millgate prices of sugar have gone down and if this further goes down with the entry of imported sugar, the sugar farmers will be facing a double whammy.” (With a report from PNA)