Business seat in SRA urged
We believe that all sectors must be heard. Our local food processors and manufacturers, which are mostly MSMEs, have long been burdened with the high cost of refined sugar
Amid the controversies hounding the sugar industry, the country’s largest business organization, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has backed calls to allow business sector representation on the Sugar Regulatory Administration board.
The consensus was arrived at during the PCCI agriculture committee meeting, in which its members, composed of the agribusiness industry leaders, approved the proposal to designate a representative from the Philippine Food Exporters to participate in the SRA Board consultative meeting.
PCCI Agriculture Committee chairperson Paul Cuyegkeng said the suggestion is imperative to strike a balance between the needs of farmers, millers, and food manufacturers, which are composed largely of micro, small and medium enterprises.
“We believe that all sectors must be heard. Our local food processors and manufacturers, which are mostly MSMEs, have long been burdened with the high cost of refined sugar and sadly, they are not able to compete with our counterparts in ASEAN, whose sugary-made products are sold way cheaper than ours,” Cuyegkeng said.
Moreover, the committee said that the Marcos administration should engage the private sector to determine the requirements of MSMEs and consider them in the import request to continue operations.
Likewise, the group said the government should also look into modernizing the milling industry to increase production and provide incentives to attract investments in the agriculture-related manufacturing sector.
Aside from industry representation to the SRA board, the PCCI, Philfoodex and Philexport, over the last five years, have been requesting SRA to allocate 10,000 bags or 500 metric tons of refined sugar solely for export use of local food manufacturers and processors so they can compete with sugary-made products from Association of Southeast Asian Nation.
“We again appeal to SRA for a (refined) sugar allocation which is only .3 percent of the 150,000 metric tons approved for importation this season,” Philfoodex president Ruben See said, adding that their requests have not been acted upon.
The committee also proposed that importation should be done through the Philippine International Trading Corporation to ensure monitoring and accounting for the release of imported sugar.
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