DA to set SRP for sugar this week

NO SWEET NEWS Vendors scoop sugar in a public market in Pasay City on Monday, June 20, 2022. Prices of sugar are on the rise due to low production and high delivery charges. PHOTO BY JOHN RYAN BALDEMOR

(UPDATE) THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will set this week the suggested retail price (SRP) for sugar as the retail price of the product hit P115 to P120 a kilo, according to an official of the agency.

Setting an SRP will help keep fair prices among different selling channels or store locations.

Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista said that a benchmark price for sugar will be enforced immediately after the scheduled stakeholders' consultation on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022 to control its price in the local market.

“We will issue an SRP within the week. It is very important we have that consultation,” she said.

Early this week, the retail price of refined sugar was pegged at P100 per kilo.

“Based on our daily monitoring, the retail price of refined sugar in some markets is already at P115 to P120 per kilo so it is important for us to implement the SRP on sugar to prevent unnecessary spikes,” Evangelista said.

Evangelista added that the DA is considering a P90 SRP for sugar.

“As of now, our prevailing price is at P90 a kilo. After looking into the supply situation, we are now ready to discuss with our stakeholders the imposition of SRP on sugar,” Evangelista added.

Traders and vendors will be invited during the scheduled stakeholders' consultation.

Evangelista said the retail price on sugar has already doubled compared to the prevailing price a year ago of P52 per kilo.

She added that an enforcement team will monitor compliance in the market once a benchmark price is determined.

A show cause order will be issued to those who will fail to comply with the SRP.

“Based on our experience, the retailers and vendors will always blame the traders for the high cost. We will then ask the traders. We want to be transparent in the cost structure. We will guide the vendors to make sure they will not exceed the SRP,” Evangelista said.

She added that the government hopes to bring down the price of sugar in the market with the importation of at least 300,000 metric tons (MT) in September.

“Of course, that is the objective, but we have to take into consideration the acquisition price of sugar and the cost of logistics then we will come up with the landed cost.”

Evangelista said the planned importation of 300,000 MT of sugar will be allocated for household and industrial use.

“We came up with the 300,000 metric tons based on the projected local harvest this August and the domestic consumption as well as the needs of industrial users. So, based on our consultation with our sugar planters and also the industrial users, we are looking at 300,000 metric tons,” she added.

Evangelista said that local manufacturers and traders did not export sugar to the United States due to the shortage of supply in the country, mainly brought by Typhoon “Odette.”

“We really have a shortage in the sugar supply due to Typhoon Odette. It takes 11 months before farmers can harvest sugarcane and we have three markets — the household, we have the institutionalized buyers, these are the restaurants and the industrial users, these are the manufacturers,” she said.

The country's sugar production is estimated at 1.8 million MT while demand for the past three crop years has been around 2.03 million MT.

Enough egg supply

The DA assured that that there is enough supply of eggs in the country despite the continued increase of its retail price.

“We have enough egg supply but during our conversation with our egg producers, they aired their concerns to ensure a steady production,” Evangelista said in a radio interview.

Evangelista said that based on DA monitoring, the retail price of egg is at P7 to P8 per piece. She added that the price increase has already affected consumption patterns, noting that those who buy per tray, now only buy per piece.

Evangelista said the DA will implement interventions to address the issue.

“The cost of production has to be addressed to really help bring down the cost and at the same time, we are looking at the intervention as far as logistics is concerned,” Evangelista added.

Besides production cost, she said the DA was also helping egg producers sell their produce directly to retailers.

“We are helping egg producers from Batangas to market their produce directly to the retailers. Our Kadiwa centers will sell eggs to retailers at wholesale price to bring down the retail price in the market,” Evangelista said.

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