Sugar exec says it is committed to keep sugar millgate prices at P3,000 per LKg | Inquirer News

Sugar exec says it is committed to keep sugar millgate prices at P3,000 per LKg

11:50 AM August 25, 2023

Customs personnel seize imported sugar in Bulacan

Customs officials in Meycauayan, Bulacan, recently seized P130 million worth of sugar from Thailand. Local farmers and sugar tillers were outraged by the discovery of imported sugar as it will compete in prices with local sugar products in the country. (FILE Photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

BACOLOD CITY – The chief of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) chief has allayed fears of sugar farmers that millgate prices could drop below P3,000 per 50-kilo bag (LKg) at the start of the milling season in September.

SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona assured the farmers that the Marcos administration was committed to keeping the millgate prices of sugar at P3,000 per LKg to protect them.


“(Our goal) is to stop all the speculation and to tell everybody that the effort of the current administration is to keep the farmers’ price at P3,000 per LKg or P60 per kilo bag for their raw sugar,” said Azcona, who spoke at the opening of the 69th Annual National Convention of the Philippine Sugar Technologists Association (Philsutech) at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City on August 23.


This will in turn keep the retail price of refined sugar at P85 per kilo.

“I would like to assure the farmers, especially the small farmers, that the current administration has mandated us to always make sure that our farmers are protected,” Azcona said.

The SRA is a regulatory body so all the sugar that arrives in the country is classified as reserve and the power to convert it into domestic sugar lies with the SRA board.

If the need arises, Azcona said the SRA would enforce its regulatory functions.

He gave assurance that the country has enough sugar supply this crop year but stressed the need for the sugar industry to further upgrade to be globally competitive.

This year’s Philsutech convention theme, “Gearing Towards a Competitive Sugarcane Industry to Adapt to the Changing Global Situation” coincides with SRA’s vision for the industry not only to persevere but to thrive amid new challenges of the times, he said.


For the past five years, Azcona said he had seen the country’s sugar production declining due to the decrease in sugarcane areas, climate change, and the steep cost of fertilizer and other farm inputs.

He said the sugar industry is fortunate that President Marcos understands its dynamics, and has given marching orders “to ensure foremost, the welfare of our sugar farmers and go full throttle with our modernization plan.”

Azcona also noted that the industry has allies in Congress “whom we can certainly count on with our appeal to bring back the full Sugar Industry Development Act or the SIDA budget allocation.”

Azcona is asking Congress to fully restore the P2 billion annual allocation for the modernization of the sugar industry, which was granted under SIDA.

The P2 billion annual allocation had been reduced by the Department of Budget and Management in the past because of the SRA’s poor utilization rate.

The SRA head said he was informed that the lower House would schedule a SIDA public hearing soon on Negros Island.

“I am asking all industry stakeholders to unite and let our voices be heard in that hearing so we can gain traction in implementing our master plan,” he said.

The SRA has been doubling its efforts in efficiently utilizing the P1 billion SIDA budget allocated for this year, and they hope to achieve their utilization target of at least 90 percent before the end of 2023.

“We are on track in implementing farm-to-market roads, have organized more than 250 block farms covering more than 10,000 hectares and facilitated the release of more than P250 million worth of start-up capitalization,” he said.

“On top of the numerous technology-driven and capacity building training that SRA has conducted, they have also optimized their budget by procuring hundreds of farm mechanization equipment and implements for farmers,” he added.

Azcona said the industry could not turn a blind eye to liberalization, and thanked the country’s legislators who have taken a strong stand against it.

“We need to adapt to the needed changes, both in our practices and mindsets. More importantly, we need you to rally behind SRA. We need to stand united as an industry. We need to work with one thought in mind, that we be triumphant in the end,” he said.


New SRA chief to prioritize stable sugar prices, supply

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TAGS: Farmers, sugar prices, Sugar Regulatory Administration

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