CONFED agrees with Zubiri to halt sugar quota

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The Confederation of Sugar Producers (CONFED) agrees with Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri that sugar allocations should be kept for domestic use to accommodate and supply local demand.

“This allocation could have provided better prices for our local farmers who are in a quandary as to the marginal farmgate prices of sugar in the past 3 years,” CONFED spokesman Raymond Montinola said.

Montinola said it is also their position that only beverage companies will be allowed direct access to sugar imports as they have a preferred standard for their softdrink manufacture (bottler’s grade – refined sugar) but it must be emphasized that this should be under the direct supervision of the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) for a calibrated, timely and transparent import program.

“At the moment we cannot compete with world prices. World market is primarily a dumped market,” he added said.

Montinola also said that most sugar producing countries have quantitative restrictions in place to protect their local market. Cases in point are Indonesia and Malaysia who produce less than their demand, yet they keep a keen schedule of sugar imports to allow their sugar producers earn a profitable livelihood.

“Our local sugar industry right now needs the support of government. And among which is to ensure we have stable prices for our sugar. The SIDA (Sugar Industry Development Act) will definitely make the sugar industry efficient but it is still at an infantile stage. Given enough time and continued government support (same as what the other progressive countries is doing) our sugar industry will become competitive,” he added.