MANILA, Philippines– The price of sugar in grocery stores remained high despite adequate supply and drop in prices set by producers, according to farmer groups.
In a joint statement, the Confederation of Sugar Producers Association, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, and Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers called on government to look into the matter, as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expedited sugar imports to tame inflation.
Farmer group United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines earlier opposed the move, noting that the import will occur at a time when milling is at its peak.
A memo of the Department of Agriculture (DA) directed officials to speed up the importation of 64,050 metric tons of sugar, as prices of the said commodity, as well as confectionery, and desserts jump 38%.
DA’s price monitoring showed that refined sugar currently retails at P95 per kilo.
The farmer groups, however, insisted that millgate prices have already dropped by as much as 26% over the last 11 weeks from a high of P3,900 per bag to a low of P2,885.
They also cited data from the Sugar Regulatory Administration, where it showed that the current refined sugar inventory is higher by 56.6% from September 1 to December 11 compared to the same period last year, indicating that there is sufficient supply to meet current demand.
“There is also no reason why retail prices should remain disproportionately high when millgate prices have already dropped,” the groups claimed.
Farmers urged government to guard the industry and consumers against excessive retail prices.
“Producers sadly get the blame but do not benefit from excessive retail prices, while consumers and end-users suffer when retail prices are unreasonably high,” they said. –Rappler.com