Group appeals for 'transparency, fairness' in sugar importation program | Inquirer News

Group appeals for ‘transparency, fairness’ in sugar importation program

/ 11:42 AM February 09, 2023

Sacks of sugar stacked in a warehouse.

File Photo

BACOLOD CITY — The largest planters federation in the country is calling on the government to exercise transparency and fairness in the proposed sugar importation program implementation.

The Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations (Confed) said the importation should be allocated on a 50:50 ratio between industrial users and sugar producers, while all interested accredited sugar traders should be qualified to participate in the program.


“We reiterate our position that the importation program should be implemented in an open, transparent, and equitable manner,” said Confed in its letter addressed to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) on Tuesday, Feb. 7.


The letter, signed by Confed President Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr., was addressed to President Marcos, the Agriculture Secretary and head of SRA’s Sugar Board, which formulates the country’s sugar policies.

Last month, the Department of Agriculture and the SRA announced its plan to import 450,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar for a two-month buffer stock.

In its Jan. 27 letter to SRA, Confed recommended the importation of only 350,000 MT of sugar to arrive in two tranches of 175,000 MT each on July and August, which corresponds to the end of the current milling season and before the opening of the next milling season, so that the importation would not depress mill gate prices of sugar.

Confed reiterated its position specifying that the importation volume should be composed of 300,000 MT of refined sugar and 50,000 MT of raw sugar to arrive no earlier than July 2023.

It also urged SRA to adopt importation guidelines that are transparent and allow participation not only of industrial users, but also of sugar producers and other interested accredited traders.

Confed said sugar farmers and millers, through their federations, associations or cooperatives which are accredited sugar traders or through other accredited sugar traders, should be qualified to apply for and import their allocation of 50 percent of the proposed volume.


For sugar producers, the importation allocation should be based on their percentage of production in Crop Year 2021-2022. For industrial users, their allocation should be based on their SRA-verified requirements, as determined by their record of excise tax or VAT payments, and subject to voluntary submission of applications and record of actual importation by accredited sugar traders.

To ensure transparency, Confed further recommended that all applications for importation should be submitted within five days upon the effectivity of the appropriate Sugar Order allowing the importation.

All submitted applications should be opened at the end of the five days, and published and made available to all applicants.

Within 10 working days after the deadline of submission, the evaluation of applications should be conducted and immediately awarded and announced, Confed said


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