MANILA, PHILIPPINES — On Monday, the PCCI (Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry) warned the public about a possible increase in prices for some products due to the sugar supply scarcity. The shortage is expected to affect the price of processed foods and beverages as it may force businesses to adjust their prices.
PCCI president George Barcelon said there is an “urgent need” for the government to address the issue as many people are already affected by the sugar scarcity.
“Somebody told me that if there is no solution at the end, there may be certain factories that may have to slow down,” he said.
He added that it might be too late by October if the government only planned to import additional sugar. Barcelon insisted that importation is only a short-term solution,
Meanwhile, the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship also stated that the government was right in its decision to import a limited amount of sugar, and its timing was also accurate. They said this measure would protect consumers and sugar farmers.
“The importation plan that the president has directed is correct and can help us achieve a more inclusive economy. It will allow our small farmers to make a living,” Go Negosyo founder Joey Conception said.
Last week, President Marcos rejected the proposal to import 300,000 metric tons of raw and refined sweeteners, which was approved by the SRA (Sugar Regulatory Administration). The president is the board chairman of the SRA, but it was approved without the president’s input.
However, the president said that the country’s doors remain open to additional sugar imports, though the volume would be much less than the previous 300,000 metric tons.
On Sunday, Marcos posted on the Office of the President’s Facebook page addressing the sugar shortage issue.
“Bago tayo mag import ng asukal, dapat sabi ko, ubusin muna natin ang supply dito,” said Marcos.
(Before we again import sugar, I said, we should first exhaust the supply that’s here.)
“Maari bandang Oktubre, baka ‘yung supply na nandito sa Pilipinas ay pa-ubos na. Baka sakali ay kailangan natin mag-import pero kakaunti lang. Hindi kasing dami ng kanilang sinasabi dati na 300,000 [metric] tons. Eh siguro malaki na ‘yung 150,000 [metric] tons para sa buong taon na ito,” he added.
(There is a possibility that by October, our supply in the Philippines will be depleted. We might need to import, but only a few, not as much as the [metric] 300,000 tons they said before. Perhaps 150,000 [metric] tons would be good for the entire year)
The president also said that there is enough stock of local sugar, and this October import, along with last May’s import of 150,000 metric tons, should be enough to stabilize the shortage.
Marcos assured the public that the country had enough supply of sugar.
SRA officials had also warned the public of a domestic sugar shortage before Mr. Marcos took power on June 30. They stated that retail prices of sweeteners this year have risen substantially in the Philippines.
The SRA estimated that the country would harvest 1.8 million metric tons of raw sugar in the crop year ending on August 31. However, that number is 16 percent less than the previous season due to crop damage from typhoons and general bad weather.
The Philippines usually does not import sugar, but Thailand is the usual go-to if needed. The said country is second only to Brazil in the number of sugar exports. –WhatALife!/Zed
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