MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the agriculture department to expedite the importation of 64,050 metric tons of sugar amid skyrocketing inflation.
The Department of Agriculture released a memorandum directing Minimum Access Volume Secretariat officer-in-charge and Executive Director Jocelyn Salvador to convene the MAV Advisory Council. The memo was signed by Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban on Tuesday, December 20.
MAV is the quantity of a specific agricultural commodity that may be imported with a lower tariff.
Latest figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that inflation reached a 14-year high of 8%. Prices of sugar, confectionery, and desserts jumped 38%.
“Concerned with this very high inflation rate, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, has ordered the department to take action and to stabilize sugar prices,” the memo read.
Peak milling time
Farmer group United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (Unifed) opposed the move, noting that the import will occur at a time when milling is at its peak.
“We are at the peak of harvest and we have abundant stocks of raw and refined sugar, as such we see no need to import sugar at this time,” said Unifed president Manuel Lamata.
Lamata stressed that they are not against importation per se, “but to do it now will be disastrous to our local sugar farmers.”
He added that in the past three weeks, “millgate prices of sugar have gone down and if this further goes down with the entry of imported sugar, the sugar farmers will be facing a double whammy.” –Rappler.com