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SRA: Sugar prices remain stable

Domestic prices of sugar remain “relatively stable” so far this year despite a reported decline due to downward pressure from free trade agreements, according to the Sugar Regulatory Administration.

SRA data on composite prices for the three months that ended last May showed that a 50-kilogram bag fetched P1,289—down from the P1,382 recorded in the same period last year.

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SRA policy and planning manager Rosemarie Gumera said in an interview there were no sudden changes in prices during the first months of tariff reduction. She was referring to the Philippines’ commitment under the agreement on the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Free Trade Area or Afta.

Under the Afta, tariff rates for sugar were slashed to 18 percent effective last Jan. 1 from 28 percent last year.

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“Admittedly, composite prices from mills are significantly lower compared to the previous crop year,” Gumera said.

But domestic demand remains robust, such that the decline of P93 per bag may be considered “tolerable,” she added.

Domestic growers are seeking government’s help in cushioning the impact of Afta on their income.

“We need to fast-track initiatives to help Filipino sugarcane farmers to compete with the highly subsidized farmers from neighboring countries,” she said, referring to an SRA proposal seeking support on research and development, upgrade of farm machinery, and construction of farm-to-mill roads.

The SRA is pushing for at least P5 billion worth of state support to help the industry meet its production goals.

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TAGS: asean free trade area, Business, Prices, sugar
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