THE Negros Occidental Workplace of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan stated it issued a decision objecting to a plan by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to import 200,000 metric tons of sugar.
Decision No. 0126 referred to as Sugar Order (SO) No. 3 badly timed, saying that the sudden inflow of overseas sugar will disrupt pricing through the milling season and dampen the trade’s earnings.
“The timing of the entry of the imported sugar into the Philippines will coincide with the continuing milling season which can severely have an effect on the earnings of sugar farmers who in the mean time are reeling from the prohibitive value of fertilizer and gasoline,” in response to the decision.
“Solely every week earlier than the issuance of SO No. 3, the SRA Administrator, Hermenegildo R. Serafica, (got here) out saying there was no motive for costs to extend since provide is steady regardless of the consequences of Hurricane Odette (worldwide identify: Rai); that in impact, Mr. Serafica has directed monitoring on costs and if wanted, impose acceptable sanctions on sellers,” it added.
The sugar trade sustained P1.2 billion in misplaced manufacturing with 51,159 hectares planted to sugar broken by the hurricane, in response to authorities knowledge.
“With the inflow of imported sugar, the sugar producers who’re nonetheless reeling from the destruction of their plantations and amenities should carry the added burden of competing with cheaper costs of imported sugar. Therefore, excluding sugar producers from the sugar import program is including insult to harm,” it added.
Individually, the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) stated it’s in search of a Short-term Restraining Order (TRO) towards the SRA’s import plans.
“We should put a cease to the injury already brought on by the SRA and Mr. Serafica with SO No. 3 and their inaction on our varied appeals to avert an agricultural disaster,” the group stated in a press release.
“Mr. Serafica stated the sugar order was to make sure that native market costs of sugar shall be stabilized as there are complaints from the shoppers, significantly native distributors, that sugar costs are excessive in the mean time. Nonetheless, if you happen to have a look at SO No. 3, it doesn’t reply immediately the so-called complaints of those distributors as half of the imported provide will go to bottling firms. That alone (signifies that) one thing fishy is occurring,” it added.
On Feb. 6, UNIFED launched a press release calling for the resignation of Mr. Serafica.
“Is he beneath stress from these multinational firms which were feeding off from our individuals and but, can’t give again to our farmers? As an alternative, they’d moderately purchase imported sugar than patronize the hand that feeds them. Once more, we’re in an agricultural disaster and what’s occurring within the sugar trade now falls on the shoulders of Serafica. (We) enchantment as soon as extra to President Rodrigo Duterte to fireside him,” UNIFED President Manuel R. Lamata stated.
“Since final yr, we now have been interesting to SRA, the DA (Division of Agriculture), and different authorities businesses to assist us with the excessive worth of farm inputs, whether or not by means of a worth freeze or subsidies, however nothing got here by means of. SRA pushed us to the wall, thus the submitting of this TRO,” UNIFED Director Joseph Edgar M. Sarrosa stated.
Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri filed a decision on Feb. 14 in search of an inquiry on sugar imports, in addition to different DA strikes to purchase overseas meals.
“Farmers have been complaining since final yr on the import-dependent applications of the DA with regards to agricultural merchandise comparable to rice, corn, pork, beef, rooster, and fish because it negatively impacts their earnings and productiveness,” in response to the decision.
Mr. Zubiri referred to as for a coverage that helps farmers and promotes meals safety as an alternative of import dependency.
“There’s a want to offer a clear-cut authorities coverage on imports through the harvest and milling season not only for sugar however for different agricultural merchandise as properly in order to not unnecessarily burden our small and poor farmers,” in response to the decision. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson