Open letter to sugarcane planters and SRA

Open letter to sugarcane planters and SRA - price of sugar


BUGTAW NA! There is imminent, real danger for all sugarcane producers, yet majority remain in the dark just why strong rumors abound that the opening price of sugar per LKG come September 2019 is only P1,350.

At this price, many of our small planters, mostly CARP beneficiaries, will certainly be “PIERDE”— LUGI na. But why such a projected drop in the opening price of sugar/LKG?

Those “in the KNOW”, the Sugar Regulatory Authority or SRA, and some of our sugar industry leaders used to say in the near past that “we must export our SURPLUS sugar KUNO”. Well today, as maverick sugarcane miller Stephen Chan boldly stated, “This is a lie (the supposed sugar surplus). We have no such surplus.”

Yet another “predictive” statement made by the de facto “Sugar Authorities” points to the need for sugar producers “to fulfill their obligations to the US Quota KUNO”.

Well, they have, not too long ago been forced to admit sugar producers have no such obligations.”  So what’s the real story?

The sugarcane PLANTERS, the sector most affected in the sugar industry, the ones who absorb the high cost of labor and inputs, and suffer most the vagaries of the world market, NEED TO KNOW.

The SRA is mandated by LAW to come out each year (traditionally before the start of a new milling season) with the current SUGAR QUOTA holdings for A, B and D. As the one BODY tasked by government in the publication of the prevailing price of sugar, it MUST COME OUT CLEAN in its pronouncements.

But why the mishmash of information and pronouncements coming from the SRA, which incidentally, has only one planter in its Board, one sugar federation representative, one miller, and  save for the chairman, who is the Department of Agriculture Secretary, has all SRA officers and directors?

In truth, the vast majority of the medium and small planters are not fairly represented in the SRA Board of Directors who determine the movement and price of sugar trading.

WHO or WHAT sectors have been profiting from the confusing and outright deceptive SRA pronouncements? Why the recurring’ claim of sugar “surplus” production which ordinary planters, not in the know, innocently accept.

As a sugar industry expert miller/trader puts it, “It’s like this: the more sugars they can export, the more replacement sugars they can Import. This export-import business is very profitable, and they (the strategic grouping of SRA, traders and some sugar industry leaders aptly rewarded) want to keep it going.

Ang malain lang, they want us to subsidize this business for them by allocating us “A” sugars. .Para may excuse sila, amo ini ila gina palusot nga estorya. But such is nonsensical. For to have a SURPLUS means to produce more than what we consume. Consumption is around 2.7 M tons. So, they are worried we might suddenly produce 2.8 M tons this year?

If SRA insists on “serving their beloved US Quota, there is a way around it…BASTA WITHOUT making us producers subsidize their business. How ?

We simply quedan 100 percent “B”. Let whoever trader volunteer to ship his “B” to the US Quota. In return, whoever serves the quota will be given the right to import 1.25 times what he exported.”

 This is not a hard task for the SRA , if it truly serves the interest of the majority of the planters. Just last week, SRA reserved 100k Imports for Industrials and 150k reserved for traders. SRA can just as easily reserve 175k imports to whoever served the 140k US Quota. They already practiced this before, they can do it again.

It is high time for the SRA to prove who it truly serves. – VIOLETA LOPEZ GONZAGA, PH.D, CEO, Southeast-East Asia Centre for Resource Studies Consultancy & Training