Groups decry ‘possible spike in sugar smuggling’ amid dip in mill gate prices

Sugar. Stock photo

BACOLOD CITY — Three federations are calling for intensified anti-smuggling operations following the plunge in mill gate sugar prices by close to P1,000 per 50-kilo bag in the last three weeks.

Aurelio “Bodie” Valderrama, president of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations; Enrique Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters president; and Danilo Abelita, president of the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers made the demand in a joint statement of concern on Monday, November 7.

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They said the quick dive in mill gate sugar prices is a matter of grave concern for producers who continue to reel from increasing costs of production.

READ: P228-million smuggled Thai sugar seized

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“The reasons can be attributed to a possible spike in sugar smuggling coupled with an increase in sugar inventory due to imports and peaking of milling operations,” they said.

“In this regard, we reiterate our call for intensified anti-smuggling operations even as we carefully analyze production and supply and demand forecasts, so that sugar policy – particularly on imports – will not precipitate a further drop in prices,” they added.

They urged stakeholders to seek ways to address production drops due to unfavorable weather as well as increasing costs of production with support from government, particularly through fertilizer and fuel subsidies or other measures to help reduce production costs and improve yields.

“These are challenging times for the sugar industry and we must pursue all possible measures to meet the challenges head-on,” they said.

Sugar prices per 50-kilo bag last week ranged from P2,850 to P2,920.

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