NFA, SRA release guidelines on sugar importation
Manila (17 February) -- Administrators Jessup P. Navarro of National Food Authority (NFA) and Rafael L. Coscolluela of Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) have released the guidelines for the importation of 150,000 metric tons of refined sugar.
The guidelines contain the mechanics of importation, eligibility rules for participants or importers, allocations per sugar end-user sector and arrival deadlines. The guidelines also provide for a protection mechanism for producers as well as consumers.
The Notice of Bidding was published by NFA on February 11, 2010 in a leading newspaper (Philippine Star) announcing that the pre-bid conference will be held on February 16 and the bidding on February 23, 2010.
The arrival period of the first tranche of imported sugar equivalent to 60,000 metric tons is scheduled to arrive not later than May 15 and the second tranche equivalent to 90,000 metric tons not later than July 31.
While the government allows the importation in its bid to stabilize the domestic price of sugar, curtail speculations and provide sufficient buffer stock at the end of the cropping season, Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap and Administrators Coscolluela and Navarro have assured that the country's local producers and farmers would not be disadvantaged by the importation.
The program is expected to keep retail prices of refined sugar within the P 50.00 to P 52.00 per kilo level, and millgate buying prices between P 1,700 – P1,800 per 50-kilo bag of raw sugar.
In a cabinet meeting held last February 9, 2010 at the Talipapa Barangay Hall in Novaliches, Administrator Coscolluela raised the producers' concern that during times of low sugar prices and high cost of farm inputs, the sugar industry is left on its own. Now that high prices allow them to recover from two years of difficulty, they are dismayed to hear that government wants to force prices down.
Some cabinet members, however, stressed their concern for the need to protect the consuming public from profiteers. The importation, they opined, would help balance the interest of both sectors.
The President then instructed Secretary Yap and NFA to fast-track the program that would help address the concerns raised. (DA-SRA) [top]