The sugar crisis could trigger price hikes in processed foods and drinks

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August 16, 2022

Manila, Philippines – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) warned on Monday of a possible rise in the prices of beverages and processed food, saying the shortage of sugar supply in the country could force its members to adjust costs.

PCCI President George Barcelon told the Inquirer in a telephone interview that there was an “urgent need” for the government to tackle the problem, as many of its members were already affected by the shortage.

“Someone told me that if there was no solution at the end, some factories might have to slow down,” he said, adding that it might already be too late if the The government’s only plan was to import additional sugar by October. . According to him, they see imports as a short-term solution.

Correct import plan
The Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship also said the government’s timing and decision to import a limited amount of sugar was correct, saying the measure would protect both consumers and sugar producers.

“The import plan that the president has led is correct and can help us achieve a more inclusive economy. This will allow our small farmers to earn a living,” said Joey Concepcion, the founder of the non-profit group Go Negosyo’s advocacy campaign, in a statement.

Exhaust local supply first
Over the weekend, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he could consider importing up to 150,000 tonnes of sugar in October if current stock from local production and previous imports were insufficient.

“Before importing sugar again, I said, we should first exhaust the supply that is here,” the president said in a vlog posted on Sunday.

“Maybe by October, probably when the supply that is here in the Philippines is about to run out, maybe we will have to import, but only a little, not as much as the 300,000 metric tons that we have. they say before. Maybe 150,000 tonnes is enough for the rest of the year,” he added.

He said there was sufficient supply of sugar locally and that, together with the 150,000 tonnes imported last May, could be used to stabilize prices.

Meanwhile, controversy over a sugar import order led to the resignation of another official, attorney Roland Beltran, who said he had resigned as a member of the sugar regulatory board of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) for health reasons.

“This is without prejudice to any investigation that may be conducted in connection with the issuance of Sugar Ordinance No. 4s. 2022-2023,” he said in his August 14 letter to Malacañang.

Another official resigns
Beltran was one of the signatories of the order which would have authorized the import of 300,000 MT of sugar. The Palace, however, called it “illegal” since Marcos, also the country’s agriculture secretary and chairman of the SRA board, did not authorize a meeting to be held or the publication of such a resolution.

Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, who signed on behalf of the president, later apologized and resigned his post.

Lawmakers also pushed for the resignation of other SRA officials who signed the order.

Deputy House Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro and Negros Occidental Representative Juliet Marie Ferrer made the call as the Food and Agriculture and Good Government Committees held an information session on Sugar Ordinance No. 4.

“This is just a briefing but apparently from resource people there was a problem with the issuance of the Order of Sugar 4, and there were signatories who have already resigned.

My question is, why aren’t the others resigning by delicadeza yet,” Castro said.

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