SUGAR PRODUCERS are lobbying the government to raise its price guidance for sugar sold by major supermarkets from the current P70 per kilogram (kg), to account for the crop damage inflicted by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (International name: Nalgae).
United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) President Manuel R. Lamata said in a statement that the association is asking President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to revise the agreement with the supermarkets to allow retail sales at between P85 and P90 per kg.
In August, Robinsons Supermarket, SM Supermarket, and Puregold agreed to sell sugar for P70/kg at the request of Mr. Marcos, who cited inflation concerns.
Mr. Lamata also asked Mr. Marcos to intervene to raise the millgate price. Sugar at millgate currently sells for about P2,900 per 50-kilogram (Lkg) bag.
“Our sugar farmers need help to recover from the damage caused by the recent typhoon that has inundated hundreds of sugar farms from north to south and the rest of the Visayas,” Mr. Lamata said.
“Before Paeng, millgate prices were already going down but seeing the damage Paeng wrought, we need the immediate assistance from President Marcos to bring up the retail price until our farmers are able to recover,” he added.
Mr. Lamata said even before the storm, sugar farmers were contending with high production costs.
“Fertilizer and fuel prices are still on the rise and compounded by Paeng’s damage, our sugar farmers will have a hard time surviving,” Mr. Lamata said.
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has also announced that it will sell sugar at P70/kg in its offices at Quezon City and Bacolod City
According to the Agriculture department, as of Sunday afternoon crop damage as a result of Paeng was estimated at P285.28 million. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave