THE government should focus on the stabilization of supply of sugar instead of considering import liberalization.
This was stressed yesterday by food and agriculture processors who have asked Agriculture Secretary William Dar for a sugar allocation of an estimated P105,000 metric tons (MT) annually to stabilize their manufacturing input and at the same time raise their global competitiveness with heftily lower cost.
The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture & Food Inc (PCAFI) and member Philippine Food Processors & Exporters Organization (Philfoodex) are asking Dar to grant a maximum of 10% sugar import allocation.
This is out of the country’s annual sugar production placed at 2.1 million MT. However, even just half of this amount, or 105,000 MT will be good enough to significantly raise food processors’ global competitiveness.
According to PCAFI, it will cut sugar cost for food manufacturing from P55-P60 per kilo locally to P28-P30 per kilo in other South East Asian countries, particularly Thailand.
PCAFI president Danilo V Fausto said the petitionSigar ubstrust stakeholders op for of PCAFI and PHilfoodex for an import allocation will be accompanied by an implementation mechanism to ensure it does not adversely affect local sugar farmers’ plight.
“We’ll issue a petition to be submitted to Secretary Dar and President (Rodrigo) Duterte. We will also propose an implementation mechanism that will ensure this allocation will not go to the retail market but rather help our food producers become competitive,” he said.
Philfoodex president Roberto C. Amores said not even the entire 10 percent of production will be asked by processors.
Initially, only 50 percent of each company’s sugar requirement based on its production program is proposed to be granted to the company.