INFLATION: A CALL FOR GOVT DIALOGUE, ACTION ON SUGAR RETAIL PRICESCONFED bats for lower sugar imports
Posted December 22, 2022
We, the undersigned Sugarcane Producers’ Federations representing 50% of domestic sugar production, share government’s concern over the current inflation rate hounding the Philippine economy. This inflation has hurt not only consumers but also Filipino farmers who are reeling from escalating costs of production. We thus support any reasonable measure/s to curb inflation.
We are therefore concerned that the reportedly “very high inflation rate of sugar, confectioneries and desserts” is seen as a major contributor to inflation and that measures must be taken to stabilize not only supply but prices of sugar in the domestic market. This seems to be the rationale for the urgent MAV (Minimum Access Volume) importation plan for 64,050 metric tons.
In this regard, we wish to state the following:
1) Producers’ Federations recommended as early as October this year the calibrated importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar – scaled down by SRA to 150,000 metric tons – in order to address both the supply and price concerns;
2) Following an early and brief spike, millgate prices have already dropped by as much as 26% over the last 10-11 weeks, from a high of PhP3,900/bag to a low of PhP2,885; 3) Retail prices, on the other hand, have not dropped significantly from their high levels of PhP 95-105/kilo over the same period;
4) Current refined sugar inventory, based on SRA data, is higher by 56.66% compared to the same period (September 1 – December 11) last year, due to higher refinery output and previous import balances, meaning there is adequate supply at this time to meet current needs;
5) There is thus no urgent need for importation especially during peak milling season; 6) There is also no reason why retail prices should remain disproportionately high when millgate prices have already dropped;
7) We are hopeful that despite the precipitate drop in millgate prices, producers will find ways to remain viable in the face of increasing costs of production and the challenges expected in the coming year;
8) Even as we urge government to engage in earnest dialogue with the industry to resolve this and other vital issues, we would like to reiterate at this time our call for DA/SRA/DTI to guard against excessive retail prices that are not in synch with prevailing millgate 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.