Cong. Benitez files reso to probe sugar price drop

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez yesterday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the continuous drop in the mill gate prices of sgar in the country.

Benitez, in House Resolution No. 1512 said, the latest data for crop year 2017-2018 “showed that mill gate prices continued to decline starting September 2017 dropping by 26 percent to P1,190 per 50- kilogram bag as of November 5 from P1,618 per 50-kg bag in the same period last year.”

“The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has also noted that the wholesale prices of sugar also declined by 21 percent to P1,500 per 50- kg for raw sugar; 18 percent to P1,700 for washed sugar and 15 percent to P2,000 for refined sugar,” it said.

The resolution pointed out that “the Negros Farmworkers and Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Producers Federation (NEFARB) have protested that small farmers and agrarian beneficiaries (ARBs) will never survive the current price level of P1,190 per lkg.”

Benitez said, the stakeholders “are calling for an investigation to identify the reasons why the mill gate prices continue to drop while the retail price of sugar remains the same.”

“The industry alleges that the price manipulation by a possible cartel, smuggling and unceasing importation of high fructose corn syrup are causing the drastic decrease in sugar prices,” he added.

The Congressman cited that “it is the duty of the State to promote the improvement of local industries, enhance agricultural competitiveness and uphold the welfare of local agricultural workers.”*(NDB)