Local food manufacturers and exporters are calling for representation of the business sector on the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) board to ensure that the voice of the MSMEs is heard and considered.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) agreed to push for this proposal to the SRA, which is chaired by the President as concurrent head of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“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,” Paul Cuyegkeng, PCCI head of agriculture committee, said.
Specifically, the PCCI seeks the designation of a representative from the Philippine Food Exporters (Philfoodex) to participate in the SRA Board consultative meeting.
Cuyegkeng said that the proposal is essential to strike a balance between the needs of farmers, millers, and food manufacturers, which are composed largely of MSMEs.
The committee urged the government to allow participation of the private sector to determine the requirements of MSMEs and consider them in the import request in order to continue operations.
The PCCI, together with Philfoodex and the Philippine Exporters Confederation of the Philippines ( Phillexport), has also renewed its call for the allocation of 10,000 bags or 500 metric tons of refined sugar solely for export use of local food manufacturers and
“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,” Ruben See, Philfoodex president, said.
The committee also proposed that importation should be done through the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) to ensure monitoring and accounting for the release of imported sugar.