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Food firms seek permit to import sugar

/ 05:26 AM December 05, 2018

A group of food processors and exporters is urging the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to allow it to import 100,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar for fear that the country’s sugar supply will not be enough to meet demand.

“We’ve been asking SRA to allow us, on a limited scale, to import sugar for domestic consumption and processing since it is also much cheaper and we are expecting a shortfall,” Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (Philfoodex) president Roberto Amores said.

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“We are not asking much. We don’t like to compete and displace the sugar industry, including the sugar workers. Let’s strike a balance between industries that are affected,” he added.

Amores, who also sits as chair of the agriculture committee of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, added that prices of confectionery products would go up if they would be forced to buy local sugar for their operations.

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However, SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica said the industry had “enough to last the entire holidays” and prices have been declining for the past three weeks.

There is no need to import for now, he added.

“The mill-gate price for the past three weeks have been declining. Apparently, prices in the market have yet to drop. But that is beyond our power, that is already the DTI’s (Department of Trade and Industry),” he said.

Earlier this year, SRA allowed the importation of 350,000 MT of sugar for the use of beverage and confectionery companies.

According to Serafica, Philfoodex should have applied during the previous importation program, noting that they could not adopt a new policy to accommodate a particular group.

In a roundtable, SRA board member Emilio Yulo also said the agency might link the group with sugar millers who are willing to sell their produce at a more competitive price. The official was not too keen on allowing the group to import as well.

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TAGS: food processors and exporters, sugar, Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA)
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