AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said that he willing to allow 100,000 metric tons (MT) worth of sugar to be jointly imported by the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc (PhilFoodex) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), for use by food processors, if domestic supply is inadequate.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Piñol said: “We would have to check the production right now of sugar farmers.”
“It is normal that whenever there is shortage or shortfall of a commodity, there’s always the world market that you can turn to,” Mr. Piñol said.
Roberto C. Amores, president of PhilFoodex, said last week that the associations submitted the request almost two months ago but received no response from the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA).
Mr. Amores said that there will be a shortfall of one million MT of sugar in 2019, and if the imports are not approved, prices of all food products using sugar as ingredient will increase.
“The reason we are not making a follow up is that we’re waiting for the technical study that would justify the need to be competitive. As soon as the technical study is out, we will use it as the basis for compelling SRA and the government in particular to allow the importation of this very important commodity. If not, we cannot really be competitive,” Mr. Amores said last week.
Mr. Piñol said approval for the imports is under study.
“I still have to see the request and I have to convene the SRA Board… We would have to check the numbers,” Mr. Piñol said.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, production of sugarcane for all uses declined by 26.2% in the second quarter of 2018 to 6.44 million MT. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio