By Nanette Guadalquiver
BACOLOD CITY – The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has urged retailers to sell refined sugar at the suggested retail price (SRP) of P85 per kilo amid reports of their retail prices of as high as P110 per kilo, especially in Metro Manila.
Acting SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona said since there is sufficient supply of sugar, retailers could reduce the price.
“We have enough sugar supply, thus I do not see any reason why retailers can’t bring their prices down at a much affordable rate for our consumers,” the Negrense official said in a statement issued to the media here.
Azcona pointed out there is still room for profit even with mill gate prices averaging at P60 per kilo and compounded cost of refining sugar, hauling, repacking and retailing. “Everyone profits enough to make it available to the consuming public at P85 per kilo,” he added.
Azcona likewise urged other government agencies, particularly local government units, to implement the P85 per kilo SRP, since the SRA has no power to enforce it. He also enjoined consumers to patronize the Department of Agriculture Kadiwa rolling stores which sell refined sugar at a much lower price of P70 per kilo.
The SRA chief said he has been conducting consultations with various sugar stakeholders to prepare for the next crop year. “Most, if not all mills, have closed their doors and are collating domestic production to determine the amount of sugar that needs to be imported to serve as buffer,” he added.
“This would be done in the event the planned reopening of the milling season will be moved to the proper start of the new crop, which is Sept. 1 to increase productivity,” he explained.
Azcona said “the constant move to mill earlier than September has also led to a constant decrease in yield, as immature cane is milled, to the demise of the farmer, and making us more dependent on imports.”
For the current crop year, some sugar mills ended their operation early due to a lack of bagasse to power milling operation which has been caused by unfavorable weather conditions.
“With this new development, we are studying closely if delaying the next milling season will help our production before we make the necessary recommendations,” Azcona said. (PNA)